The Zambian Parliament has recently launched the Farmer Input Support Program (FSIP) 2015/2016 for a total investment of ZMW 2.1 billion, which aims at improving small scale farmers’ access to improved resources and to enhance the participation of the private sector in supply and distribution of agro inputs.
The FSIP has been designed to reach 1,000,000 small scale farmers by supporting 759,000 of them with the provision of inputs as fertilizer, maize seeds and ground nuts among the most important ones, while the other 241,000 picked up from a total of 13 districts will be targeted under the e-voucher that will give them access to the classic agro inputs but also livestock and fisheries.
Agriculture and Livestock Minister Given Lubinda explained in the statement that the number of crops to be distributed has been raised from four to nine to be in line with Zambia’s National Budget 2016 that mandates diversification in all economic sectors.
The total tonnage of crops supplied sum up 222,869.74 MT, which together with 72,000 MT of D-compound fertilizer produced by Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia Limited (NCZ) and 60,790 MT of imported urea fertilizer, are expected to cover a total area of 379,500 hectares, added Minister Lubinda.
According to the statement, the average subsidy for the FSIP 2015/2016 will be around 71% up from 66% in the period 2014/2015 and 50% when the program started in the year 2002.
The Mpika District in Muchinga province, Zambia’s northeastern region has started receiving the first subsidies according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock.
So far 38,500 farmers have received 50 kg of D-compound fertilizer while 5,903 has been assigned with 50 kg of imported urea fertilizer totaling 2,220.15 MT of fertilizer distributed, explained Mpika District Agricultural Coordinator Edward Hachuundu.
According to the Zambian Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute (IAPRI), each 200 MT of fertilizer distributed by the FSIP raises household income by 7.7% and reduces poverty severity by 3.6%.