ESAFF Zambia: Involve small-scale farmers in monitoring agric. budget
By Business Reporter, Times of Zambia
THE East and Southern African Small-Scale Farmers Forum (ESAFF) Zambia has said Government should start involving small-scale farmers in monitoring resources allocated to the agricultural sector.
ESAFF Zambia communications secretary, Simon Mwamba said in Lusaka yesterday that the Government must also make available some credit facilities in order to improve productivity among small-scale farmers.
Mr Mwamba said small-scale farmers had for a long time been sidelined in the decision-making processes on issues that affected their performance and operations despite agriculture being small-scale oriented.
“We demand for small-scale farmers’ participation in the formulation, implementation and monitoring process for resources allocated to the agricultural sector,” said Mr Mwamba.
He said Government should also allocate more funds to the agricultural sector to be channelled to demand-driven research, appropriate technology and extension services.
And Mr Mwamba has said Government should design improved credit facilities for small-scale farmers, to enhance their productivity.
This should be coupled with improved infrastructure development, especially improvements of feeder roads, satellite depots, bridges construction and rehabilitation, and provision of solar or hydro power to rural areas.
“We, small-scale farmers, are grateful that the National Agriculture Policy has finally been put in place. We however demand that the relevant sub sector policies be developed to facilitate effective operationalisation of the policy,” he said.
There was need for sub-sector policies such as sustainable agriculture and agro-forestry, small scale irrigation, finance policies that embrace small scale farmers and a basket support to institutions that were working with small scale farmers.
Mr Mwamba said the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) should start dealing directly with farmers’ associations and increase buying points, while the associations should also be engaged as depot managers in the distribution of fertiliser under the Fertiliser Support Programme (FSP).