Government has dispelled rumors that it will phase out the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP).
Minister of Agriculture Mtolo Phiri says what government wants to do is to improve the system and not do away with it.
Mr Phiri said this year about 1,024,434 farmers will benefit under the FISP program.
The minister said when he officiated at the Farmers Day Luncheon at the 95th Agriculture and Commercial luncheon held at the show grounds in Lusaka.
Mr Mtolo noted that government wants to improve FISP and make it more flexible and accessible to the farmers.
He said previously inputs such as fertilizer and seeds have been given to wrong people adding that these are some of the things that the ministry wants to correct.
“I want to dispel the rumors going that we have and will no longer be running the FISP program. This is not true. What we are doing is that we want to improve the system and mechanism of the system.” Mr Phiri noted.
And speaking at the same event, Minister of Livestock and Fisheries Makozo Chikote said there is a need to increase cattle production in the country.
Mr Chikote said the cattle production in the country currently stands at 4.8 million adding that cattle farmers should double this number to 8 million.
He said cattle farmers can double the cattle stock if they work with different stakeholders and get knowledge and support from them.
Mr Chikote said farmers are critical and should now start initiating projects and programs that will help double their production.
Meanwhile, The Farmers Day Organizing Chairperson Francisco Miti urged farmers to explore all opportunities available and ensure that their production levels increase.
Mr Miti said farmers should also inculcate knowledge of planning for early farming and avoid late planting adding that this has a huge impact on how crops fair.
“Please farmers, I am urging you to practice what you have learnt. There are a lot of innovations here so take advantage. If you are able to inculcate this knowledge I am telling you, your production levels will grow” said Mr Miti.
And speaking on behalf of the sponsors, a representative from Afriseed Natasha Mwansa said stakeholders will continue working with government to help improve the welfare of farmers and citizens at large.
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