Power and Politics

Cabinet approves comprehensive agriculture transformation support programme


Cabinet has approved the Comprehensive Agriculture Transformation Support Programme (CATSP) 2024–2033 for implementation.

President Hakainde Hichilema called for the 6th Cabinet Meeting on Monday, March, 25, 2024, at State House, to deliberate on policy issues.

This was to ensure that the development of the country was in line with the economic development agenda, Chief Government Spokesperson, Cornelius Mweetwa, said.

Addressing a media briefing in Lusaka on Tuesday, Mweetwa said the CATSP would improve the current policy and institutional framework for the agricultural sector to produce results that would change the agricultural landscape.

He said the programme would consequently support implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme.

“It will also support the implementation of the 8th National Development Programme and the National Agriculture Policy of 2016,” Mweetwa added.

He stated that the programme had clear policy solutions to the gaps in the current policy framework, which included, but are not limited to facilitating investment in new technologies including climate-smart agriculture.

The minister identified other gaps as food security and knowledge tools, value chain promotion, smallholder aggregation, value chain digitalisation for traceability and operations visibility.

“Wholesale and retail market transformation, small and medium enterprises promotion, access to finance, quality control, pests and animal diseases control, emergency response, and export promotion,” he said.

Mweetwa stated the CATSP’s expected overall outcome was “increased agriculture sector’s contribution to economic growth, wealth creation and social welfare.”

During the same meeting, the minister said Cabinet also approved the ratification of the agreement on the establishment of African Risk Capacity (ARC) agency in Zambia, a specialised agency of the African Union.

“The ARC treaty provides for the establishment of the African Risk Capacity Agency, to assist the member states to reduce the risk of loss and damage caused by extreme weather events and natural disasters affecting Africa’s populations,” he stated.

Mweetwa added that this was done by providing targeted responses to disasters in a more timely, cost-effective, objective and transparent manner, thereby improving the food security situation of the vulnerable populations.

He expressed hope that by ratifying the agreement it would have a positive impact on Zambia’s national interests, together with other member states.

“They will be pooling their financial resources in order to provide timely, objective and cost-efficient contingency funding,” the minister said.

Mweetwa highlighted that the agreement was signed on January, 29, 2016, as such, Zambia was now required to ratify it in order to participate in a Continent-Wide, African Owned Extreme Weather Risk pool and contribute to sovereign level risk management.

He further stated that Cabinet also agreed to the implementation of the 2024/2025 FISP using a hybrid modality, so as to improve efficiency, minimise associated costs to government and ensure the continued implementation of the FISP Migration Plan.

“The agreement by Cabinet is premised on the decision earlier made by Cabinet at its 30th Meeting held on December, 28, 2022,” the minister said.

He added that the Action Plan for full migration of the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) to an Electronic Agricultural Input Support system over the period 2023 to 2026 was approved during the same meeting,” the minister said.

Read More: Cabinet approves amendment of Zambia Police, Immigration Acts

Mweetwa stated that in accordance with the Action Plan, government had agreed to migrate a cumulative total of 74 districts during the 2024/2025 season, onto the e-voucher platform.

He said migration of the farmers to the e-voucher system started during the 2023/2024 farming season and that the programme was implemented in 17 districts in Lusaka and Central provinces.

“In 2024/2025 farming season, government will migrate a further 57 districts and bring the total to 74 districts onto the e-voucher platform,” Mweetwa highlighted.

The minister stated that the implementation of the new modalities would result in efficiency and timely distribution of inputs to farmers.

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