17 November 2012

Zambia: Govt Releases K169 Billion for Farming Inputs Distribution

GOVERNMENT has released K169 billion to Omnia Small-Scale Limited and Nyiombo Investment Limited for distribution of inputs to farmers countrywide.

On Tuesday, the Government released K47 billion towards the payment of a debt owed to the two firms.

The debt was in respect of the supply of basal and top dressing fertiliser to Government, which was distributed to farmers around the country.

Agriculture and Livestock Permanent Secretary Siazongo Siakalenge, who witnessed the distribution of 505 packs of farming inputs in Chongwe yesterday, said the Government had paid towards the supply of inputs to ensure that farmers were not inconvenienced.

He said the supply of inputs would continue to enable the country to record a bumper harvest this farming season.

"It is our hope as Government that the country should record a bumper harvest this season, so DACO (District Agricultural Coordinator) please ensure that inputs are distributed to the cooperatives on time," he said.

Mr Siakalenge said the input distribution under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) would be completed soon.

He assured farmers that they would get the D Compound and Urea fertiliser on time as both Omnia and Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia (NCZ) had the supplies.

He instructed DACOs to ensure that distribution of the inputs to farmers in their respective districts was done on time.

Mr Siakalenge thanked Omnia for partnering with Government in helping to promote the agriculture sector through this initiative.

Chongwe DACO Charles Simulunda said the distribution programme was on course and that farmers had not been inconvenienced in any way.

He said the peak for distribution of inputs usually started around this time.

Mr Simulunda said Chongwe District had 38,000 registered farmers and 215 cooperatives. About 23,925 farmers would benefit from the programme.

Mr Simulunda said the farmers would receive input packs at a total cost of K280, 000 and that each pack contained two by 50kg bags of D Compound, two by 50kg bags of Urea and one 10kg bag of maize seed.

Omnia general manager Vincent Mkuyamba said the company would comply with the contract agreement with Government.

He said the company had so far distributed about 90 per cent of the inputs in Southern, Eastern and Lusaka provinces where it was engaged.

"I can confirm that Government has released 25 per cent payment of the total contract value which is over K600 billion to Nyiombo Investment and Omnia," he said.

Chongwe District Cooperative Union chairperson, Prisca Mwansa said the cooperatives were happy with Government's support of the farmers through the FISP.

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