ZNFU regrets reports of e-voucher ‘sabotage’
Published On February 28, 2018 » 1574 Views» By Evans Musenya Manda » Latest News, Stories
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THE Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) says it is unfortunate if indeed there are some individuals who are trying to frustrate the implementation of the Electronic Voucher (e-voucher) programme.
ZNFU media and public relations manager Calvin Kaleyi said the e-voucher system was a good initiative that could help in the efficient distribution of farming inputs and prevent pilferage if the teething problems experienced in its implementation were addressed.
Mr Kaleyi’s remarks, made in an interview yesterday, come in the wake of concerns by President Edgar Lungu that there were some unscrupulous people who were hell-bent on frustrating the e-voucher programme to push the Government to revert to the old system, which others used as a conduit to appease themselves.
“If, truly, there are some people who are trying to frustrate the system and make it look like it’s failing then it’s very unfortunate,” Mr Kaleyi said.
Mr Kaleyi said ZNFU was not privy to any information about the alleged scheme but suggested that Information and Broadcasting minister Dora Siliya may have had the issue in mind when she warned of mass dismissals of officers from the ministry of Agriculture which she was head of before the recent cabinet reshuffle.
Mr Kaleyi said ZNFU was expecting sincerity from the Government as it held the proposed stakeholders e-voucher reconciliation meeting – expected to be held in March – which would also provide information on how many farmers had been captured, the failures and achievements, among other details.
Mr Kaleyi said that it was only through sincerity that the flaws that had been encountered during the implementation of the e-voucher programme could be tackled “head-on” thereby perfecting the system going forward.
The Government embarked on a 100 percent implementation of the e-voucher programme in 2017-2018 season, targeting to capture one million farmers, but the initiative has faced a number of hurdles.
Meanwhile, the ZNFU said it would make its position known to the nation on the 2018 harvests once a national crop survey was conducted and estimates were recorded.
ZNFU president Jervis Zimba said in a statement issued by Mr Kaleyi said that it would be premature for the organisation to make its position known on the harvest before the crop survey and estimates were recorded.
Mr Zimba noted that the 2017/2018 farming season had been challenging as some parts of the country considered “Agricultural-Belts” had been affected by drought and flush floods thereby considerably affecting the maturity of crops in the affected areas.

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