ISOKA FARMERS PROTEST OVER DELAYED PAYMENT

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By NATION REPORTER

ANGRY Isoka farmers yesterday stormed the office of District commissioner Evenwell Mutambo to protest delayed payment for maize they supplied to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) in the 2017 – 2018 marketing season.

Speaking on behalf of other farmers, Mr Mpanjila Siame from Kafwimbi Agriculture Camp said the delay by the FRA to pay them their money had negatively affected their 2018/2019 farming activities as they were unable to buy seed and fertilisers.

Mr Siame said it was unfortunate that despite supplying maize to the FRA in September last year, the agency had not paid them in good time.

‘‘We are very much concerned with the delayed payment of our money by the Food Reserve Agency, some of us supplied the agency as early as September 2018 but payment is not forthcoming and this will drastically affect the livelihood of the farmers if not addressed promptly,’’ Mr Siame said.

He said some farmers were not on the government subsidised Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) there was need, therefore, to enable them buy farming inputs.

The delayed payment by the agency would result in poor crop yield and hunger if not addressed quickly, he said.

Mr Siame said despite assurances by the government that they would be paid within two weeks of supplying their produce to the FRA, the agency had not done so.

He said since the payments were already late, releasing funds in bits would not help the farmers.

Parents with school going children did not have money to pay for their school fees because of the deays by FRA.

Mr Mutambo said the government was aware of the challenges farmers were facing and was working to ensure that they were paid their money.

‘‘Farmers have been coming to this office to complain over nonpayment since last week but I can assure that your government is working tirelessly in ensuring that outstanding payments are settled before schools open,” he said

He appealed to the farmers to be patient as the government was mobilising resources to pay them.

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