THE distribution of basal dressing (Compound-D) fertiliser has commenced under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) for the 2023/2024 crop farming season.
Local firm, United Capital Fertilizer (UCF) had been contracted by the Government to supply 77,087.55tonnes of the commodity to 513,917 beneficiary farmers in Eastern, Northern, Southern and Western provinces.
Agriculture Minister Reuben Mtolo said the Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia (NCZ), another local company would also supply, deliver and distribute 43,292.70 tonnes of Compound-D to 288,618 farmers in Copperbelt, Luapula, Muchinga and North- Western provinces.
“For the 2023/2024 farming season, 1,024,434 smallholder farmers will benefit under FISP. We will ensure that only eligible farmers are on the programme,” Mr Mtolo said as he flagged off the distribution at the UCF plant in Chilanga District yesterday.
He hailed UCF for producing 85,000tonnes, which was more than the contracted 77,000tonnes.
“I am also informed that 700 direct jobs have been created, while 400 seasonal jobs will be created,” he said.
Mr Mtolo said the Government was determined to ensure that the local manufacturing industry for fertilizer was ramped up.
“I know that the farmer registration exercise is currently underway. Therefore, I wish to urge the officers on the ground in the provinces to exhibit integrity, professionalism and transparency to ensure that the objectives of the programme are met,” he said.
UCF board chairperson Chance Kabaghe thanked the Government for supporting the company’s growth.
In remarks delivered on his behalf by UCF board member Roy Mwamba, Mr Kabaghe said the Government’s support had been instrumental in ensuring that the company produced more and created more jobs.
He assured that the fertiliser being supplied was of quality standard and to the expectation of beneficiary farmers.
Early this year President Hakainde Hichilema assured farmers that fertiliser distribution under FISP would be done early.