Patriotic Front, Kamfinsa Member of Parliament, Christopher Kang’ombe, has advised government not to abolish the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) but instead reform it.
In June this year, Agriculture Minister, Mtolo Phiri, announced in Parliament that government would abolish FISP and replace it with loans for farmers.
Kang’ombe told Zambia Monitor in Lusaka that the US had been giving out subsidies to its citizens in selected sectors, just as the United Kingdom (UK) had been doing the same for so many years across different sectors.
He said Zambia should not abolish FISP simply because the programme had not been properly managed but instead embark on reviewing it.
“There is enough research that has been done to aid a review of the programme and improve its effectiveness and from a public policy point of view, the problem is not the programme but its management,” Kang’ombe said.
He justified his position by referencing the book “Re-inventing Government”, in which Osborne and Gaebler were quoted to have said: Not only are all Americans eligible for subsidies at some point in their lives, most are receiving them.” Social security was a subsidy. Welfare was a subsidy. Our farm programmes provide subsidies.
Kang’ombe said Zambia would always have farmers at the lowest level and would need to be helped to grow to the next level while ensuring that food security was guaranteed for such a targeted group.
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