Small scale farm­ers cry for more money

Daily Nation Newspaper - - HOME NEWS - By NA­TION RE­PORTER

MIN­IS­TER of fi­nance, Margaret Mwanakatwe must re­view the bud­get al­lo­ca­tion for agri­cul­ture sec­tor and make im­me­di­ate ad­just­ment up­wards if we are to make the sec­tor more ef­fec­tive and ef­fi­cient to drive the eco­nomic growth of the coun­try, the Small Scale Farm­ers De­vel­op­ment Agency (SAFADA) has de­manded. SAFADA di­rec­tor, Boyd Moobwe said that the K5.4 bil­lion al­lo­cated to the agri­cul­ture sec­tor was a drop in the ocean be­cause it catered for fish­eries, crops and live­stock. Mr Moobwe pointed out that the bud­getary al­lo­ca­tion for the elec­tronic voucher sys­tem of K1.4 bil­lion and the amount al­lo­cated to fish­eries and live­stock were not enough as this did not in­clude re­search and ex­ten­sion ser­vices. He told the Daily Na­tion that the bud­get al­lo­ca­tion for the Food Re­serve Agency FRA) was equally not enough to en­able the in­sti­tu­tion to op­er­ate ef­fec­tively and ef­fi­ciently to make the mar­ket­ing sec­tor more com­fort­able and con­sis­tent in its op­er­a­tions. Mr Moobwe urged Govern­ment to at least dou­ble the bud­get al­lo­ca­tion and make it K10.8 bil­lion. “This means that Govern­ment should re­visit the bud­get and en­sure that the al­lo­ca­tion is tied to spe­cific projects in the pro­duc­tion, mar­ket­ing and tech­nol­ogy which should in­clude agri­cul­ture re­search and ex­ten­sion ser­vice. The bud­get is not ad­dress­ing is­sues re­lated to cli­mate change although ir­ri­ga­tion and diver­si­fi­ca­tion is men­tioned,” he said. Mr Moobwe said that over 85 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion was pre­dom­i­nantly liv­ing on agri­cul­ture econ­omy and were key stake­hold­ers in the sec­tor. He ex­pressed hap­pi­ness that the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture was aware that it only catered for a small frac­tion of the small scale farm­ers in the coun­try hence the need for SAFADA to work with the rest of the farm­ing com­mu­nity who were not reached. Mean­while, Mr Moobwe said that diver­si­fi­ca­tion should en­gage small scale farm­ers to go or­ganic farm­ing and that a spe­cific bud­get al­lo­ca­tion should also be con­sid­ered. “I am happy the new min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture, Michael Katambo is psy­cho­log­i­cally and eco­nom­i­cally ad­dress­ing chal­lenges in the sec­tor and sin­cerely re­quest the en­tire min­istry to work with him. Mr Katambo al­lowed SAFADA to have an au­di­ence with him, we ap­pre­ci­ate his stand to sup­port small scale farm­ers,” he said.

Mr Katambo

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