By MUNAMBEZA MUWANEI –
THE Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture Land and Natural Resources has called on the Ministry of Agriculture to introduce security measures and get rid of ghost farmers on the e-voucher and the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP).
Bweengwa Member of Parliament Kasauta Michelo disclosed this in Choma to Southern Province Minister Edify Hamukale and his Permanent Secretary Mwangala Liomba when the committee paid a courtesy call on them.
Mr Michelo said some of the ghost farmers were actually officers from the ministry of Agriculture and there was need for the ministry to introduce fingerprints so that if one person’s swiped using a card, this could not be repeated.
“We know that we still have ghost farmers on the e-voucher, we can get rid of them when we start using the finger prints.
“When you put in security measures in the e-voucher programme you will discover that some officers from the ministry of Agriculture are there and including the genuine farmers,” he said.
He described the e-voucher as being a brilliant system, which would fully benefit the farmers if well implemented.
Chairperson for the Committee Mexas Ng’onga said the Committee was in Southern Province to check on how the implementation of the e-voucher system was working.
The Committee was expected to check on the livestock management programmes, land management and administration and also projects that Musika was engaged in.
He said the full report on the findings from the tour of the province would be read in Parliament.
Dr Hamukale said the Government planned to set up a tannery, beef and milk processing plants in Southern province so as to utilise the existing raw materials.
Dr Hamukale said his office had tasked the department of Livestock to come up with the Business Plans for setting up a tannery, beef and milk processing plants.
He said in setting up the processing plants they would utilise the already existing infrastructure for the livestock sector in Namwala and for milk processing in Mazabuka or Monze.
The setting up of the milk processing plant would enable the production of skimmed milk, cheese and other dairy products and also the processing of meat products from the beefing process plant while the tannery would be able to produce leather products.
“We want to set up a tannery so that we start processing hides and also to set up a beef processing plant in Namwala and also a Milk processing plant in Mazabuka or Monze,” he said.
Dr Hamukale called on the committee to also share the findings from the tour to the provincial administration as that would help to transform the agriculture sector.
The Committee was currently in Southern Province to check on some of the Agriculture projects being undertaken by Musika Zambia Limited and other government projects.