By Derrick Silimina
Farmers are concerned with the reported delays in finalizing the procurement processes
for the 2022 Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) fertilizers, says Zambia National
Farmers’ Union President Jervis Zimba.
In a statement, Zimba said most small-scale farmers depend on FISP for farming inputs
hence this development is a blow and could spell doom on a sector that is still grappling
with the climate change after effects following prolonged dry spells experienced last
“We cannot understand the on-going inertia and farmers are asking! What is the
alternative? We urge the Minister of Agriculture to address the farmers on the Fertilizer
Procurement developments. In our view, the current FISP mess will require the
intervention of the Head of State, Mr. Hakainde Hichilema, to instill hope and certainty in
the minds of farmers as the twists and turns playing out in the public domain makes it
difficult to discern the facts. We say so because every day that passes is edging us
closer to the farming season. There is no more time to waste,” Zimba said.
The farmers Union President stressed that rains are just around the corner in some
parts of the country and any further delay and lack of clear direction on fertilizer
availability will adversely impact on production and productivity for the 2022/2023
Zimba stated that this will lead to diminishing income opportunities, food insecurity and
stagnation in the poverty trap for most farmers adding that what is even more worrying
is that even for locally produced seed, the uncertainty is the same as on Fertilizer which
“We would like to appeal to the Government to step up and realize that the
consequences will be catastrophic for farmers. It is imperative to ensure that farmers
have access to seed and fertilizer timely because what is unfolding will result in these inputs being distributed during the rainy season. Of what use will that be?” he wondered.
Zimba implored that this state-of-affairs could have been avoided if the roadmap agreed
in April was adhered to because back then, the recommendation by the private sector
was that the processes be concluded by June 2022.
“We appeal to President Hichilema to set up an Inter-Ministerial Committee to handle
the issue of the 2022 FISP fertilizer and Seed availability, harness united efforts and
coordinate timely delivery. What is happening right now is watching a crisis unfolding
but behaving as if there is no crisis. This is unfortunate as farmers' livelihoods are at
stake,” he said.