Over 10, 000 farmers in Kabwe District of Central Province have not received Urea fertilizer under the 2021/2022 Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP), District Agricultural Coordinator, Chishimba Mubanga has disclosed.
Dr Mubanga in an interview with ZANIS in Kabwe said he could only provide expert information because the matter has been escalated to the Ministry of Agriculture Headquarters in Lusaka.
He disclosed that by Wednesday this week the district had a deficit of 17, 500 X 50 kilograms bags of Urea fertilizer.
“I can’t tell you where we are because I am too small. You may wish to know that the issue has been escalated to the ministry level. But I can tell you the deficit because that’s expert information,” Dr Mubanga said.
He said the district was allocated 4, 139.20 metric tonnes of Urea fertilizer and received 3, 261.05 representing 78.78 per cent.
He added that 3, 260.90 metric tonnes have been distributed to mostly farmers who received their maize pack first.
He stated that only three camps still have pockets of farmers that have not received the commodity with the majority of the affected maize growers coming from Kawama camp.
He observed that the maize has grown and genuinely farmers desperately need urea now before the crops are destroyed.
Dr Mubanga stressed that only Neria Investment Limited, the company engaged to supply Urea fertilizer, is in a position to tell when the district will receive the remaining consignment.
“The company contracted by government to supply Urea seems to have very little stocks which have led to this crisis. From where we are, we only wait. At our level we are at the receiving end,” he said.
He explained that in order to mitigate the situation, any urea received is given to farmers that have Authority-To-Correct (ATCs) form for maize.
Meanwhile, Neria Investment Limited General Manager, Martin Chaikatisha, when contacted said three trucks were currently loading and could be in Kabwe before the close of business today.
Mr Chaikatisha said this shall continue next week and may deliver all the remaining consignment by the end of week days.
“I spoke to DACO this morning. Right now three trucks destined for Kabwe are loading and this shall continue next week. All things being equal, the deliveries of the remaining fertilizer could be completed by the end of next week,” Mr Chaikatisha said.
Efforts to get a comment from the Ministry of Agriculture Permanent secretary, Greenwell Mboozi, proved futile as his mobile phone went unanswered.