In a move to address the escalating cost of living, Finance and National Planning Minister, Situmbeko Musokotwane, has announced an increase in Farmers Input Support Programme (FISP) of K8.6 billion for 2024.
This would address some of the concerns raised by farmers and experts in the industry which claim that the government was doing away with FISP.
In the previous farming season, the FISP programme was bogged by a number of challenges not limited to delay in the distribution of farming inputs, reduction in the number of beneficiaries, among other issues.
Out of the total budget spend for Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock amounting to K13.8 billion, FISP would get the largest share of K8.6 billion.
“FISP is not dead,” Musokotwane said in Parliament during the budget presentation on Friday.
Musokotwane said the K8.6 billion for FISP would cover over one million beneficiaries.
He stated that about 77 percent of the beneficiaries would receive support through the e-voucher system.
In the current national budget under implementation, the government had allocated about K7.2 billion for the 2023/2024 FISP programme, covering 1,024,434 small scale farmers across the country.
Of this amount, the e-Voucher system was given K1,549,273,497.68, while that for direct input supply, was K5,603,207,794.80.
He further allocated K1.7 billion for the maintenance of strategic food reserves.
On the farm blocks, Musokotwane said its completion of the identified blocks would be a game changer to boosting agricultural production and productivity.
“In this regard, I have allocated K598.4 million towards the Nansanga, Luena, Luswishi and Shikabeta farm blocks. This amount will go towards the construction of at least 300 kilometres of roads and 10 bridges as well as electrification and irrigation development,” Musokotwane said.
He also increased the allocation to the Zambia Credit Guarantee Scheme to K386.0 million from K150.0 million this year.
Of this amount, Musokotwane indicated thar K186.0 million was for the establishment of a financing and credit window for small scale farmers, public service workers, and emergent farmers.
“I have allocated K498.8 million towards the procurement of vaccines, animal health extension services, surveillance, animal identification and put into operation regional veterinary laboratories,” he said.
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