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A TOTAL of 998,791 representing 99.9 percent of the targeted 1,000,000 beneficiary farmers in both e-voucher and direct input supply have successfully deposited their contributions, says Smart Zambia national coordinator Martine Mtonga.

This means that the 998,791 are eligible to receive Government support in terms of agriculture inputs.

Dr Mtonga however said under the direct input supply, there had been some challenges including late or failure to deliver correct amounts of inputs especially seed for diversification.

Systems Development director David Phiri made the remarks on behalf of Dr Mtonga.

He said this on Wednesday at a stakeholder consultation on the ‘Implementation of the E-Voucher in 2018/9’ in Lusaka hosted by the Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) International in collaboration with Oxfam.

“Further, about 548, 665 farmers had redeemed their e-voucher for inputs and 93 percent redemption,” he said.

Auckland Kuteya from Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute (IAPRI) in his presentation, pointed out that recent experience demonstrated that E-FISP provided clear benefits over traditional FISP.

Mr Kuteya said Government should progress with e-FISP because there were clear lessons for successful implementation.

He also prodded the Ministry of Agriculture to commence preparing for the 2019/20 season now. The purpose of the meeting was to review the implementation of the e-voucher programme and discuss the outlook of the programme for 2019.

There was representation from the government through Smart Zambia, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock. Other key stakeholders included representatives from the Fertiliser Association, Zambia National Agro Dealers Association, farmers, civil society organisations, media representatives and various players in the agriculture sector.

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