By Mailesi Banda
GOVERNMENT has announced that it will wean off farmers from the Farmer Input Support Program (FISP), programme every three years to give room for other farmers to benefit from the programme.
Minister of Agriculture Dora Siliya said the farmers register would be updated every three years with new farmers being introduced to the programme as beneficiaries.
This comes in the wake of a public uproar from the private sector and civil society that expressed concern over the over dependency on the programme.
Speaking during the launch of the roll out of the 2017/2018 FISP programme the minister said the move would will help farmers effectively utilize their time.
“Government will be weaning off farmers from the FISP programme every three years and this is aimed at making the program more effective and responsive to the needs of the farmers, “he said.
And Musika, managing director, Reuben Banda said removing beneficiaries from the farmers register every three years would develop the agriculture sector.
Mr. Banda explained that the essence of the FISP programme was to help farmers find ground in the agriculture sector adding that it was sad that some farmers had been beneficiaries for the past 50 years.
“The decision by the Government to have a specific period in which farmers are to be on the FISP program is a welcome move. We need to see farmers graduate from the FISP and by doing so we will be making the farmers upscale in production in a prudent manner, “he said.
He further said there was need to empower farmers with technologies that will help them up scale production by embracing mechanized equipment and irrigation technologies. He emphasized the need for small -scale farmers to graduate to emergent farmers then later on commercial farmers adding that this would enhance growth in the agriculture sector. He noted that there have not been a tangible number of farmers graduating from the FISP programme in the recent past.

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