By NATION REPORTER
To avert a national food catastrophe, President Hakiande Hichilema should order the Zambia National Service (ZNS) to help in the distribution of fertilizer and other farming inputs because it has become clear that suppliers contracted by government would not be able to beat the November 30th deadline, Harry Kalaba has said.
Mr Kalaba, leader of Citizens First Party says ZNS had the capacity to manage the logistical challenges the government’s suppliers were facing and deliver the farming inputs across the country before the roads become impassable.
Mr Kalaba says the manner in which the government is managing the agriculture sector is worrying as this is the sector which is supposed to be the key to Zambia’s economic recovery.
“But what the nation is experiencing today is the exact opposite. The problems that have characterised the management of farming input distribution threatens to reverse the huge gains the sector has recorded over the years because of the appetite of some people entrusted with the responsibility to serve self-interest and private enterprise at the expense of the suffering majority,” Mr Kalaba observed.
He advised that the major interest of the current government should be to see whether farmers have received their inputs.
“The focus of government should not be on who wins the tender to supply the fertiliser but to serve the farmers and, through them, the nation.
The delay in the distribution of inputs will certainly have a significant negative impact on agriculture in the 2022/2023 farming season in Zambia and the region. It is not just poor economic management to starve the sector that is meant to lay the golden egg, but also shows a lack of understanding of the fundamentals that build the nation.
“Like other citizens, we are worried to know that in some places as many as 40 people are sharing eight bags of fertiliser. That is a ratio of four to one. Surely, how do four people share one bag of fertiliser? That does not reflect good economic management,” he said.
The onus to avert the looming disaster is on the shoulders of those given the mandate to rule by Zambians.