Tuesday, September 23, 2008
By Florence Bupe
Tuesday September 23, 2008 [04:00]
THE National Association for Peasant and Small-scale farmers of Zambia has called for a review of the Fertiliser Support Programme (FSP)’s distribution system. Association president Rogers Phiri said the government should consider changing the criteria for selecting beneficiaries in order to make it more effective.
“There are clear directions that need to be adhered to in the fertiliser distribution process, but there are often flaws with the current system,” he said.
Phiri also suggested that the government should have considered increasing the number of beneficiaries under the FSP instead of increasing fertilizer subsidies from 50 per cent to 75 per cent.
“We understand that government’s decision to up fertiliser subsidies form 50 per cent to 75 per cent was well intended, but we would have been happier if they considered increasing the number of beneficiaries, because there are still so many poor farmers who are in need of fertiliser support,” he said.
And Phiri has said he does not see the increase in the floor price of maize by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) as a political campaign strategy.
FRA last week announced the increase in the price of maize from K45,000 to K55,000 per 50 kilogramme bag.
“We welcome the increase in the floor price of maize, because this is something that we have been pushing for over the last four or five years. The increase is simply a response to our calls as farmers,” Phiri said. “FRA just had to offer a better price, as a lot of other players on the market were offering higher prices than that of FRA.”