Africa-Press – Zambia. The Patriotic Front (PF) leadership has said that said The United Party for National Development (UPND) government is punishing innocent farmers by failing to provide Food Reserve Agency grain bags.
PF Member of the Central Committee in charge of Information and Publicity Rapheal Nakachinda said it is unfortunate that farmers have stayed for two months in depots without being given grain bags.
He said the UPND promised to be there for the people but the current situation is unacceptable. He appealed to President Hakainde Hichilema and Minister of Agriculture to ensure that the situation is resolved.
Meanwhile Mr Nakachinda has given the new dawn government 48 hours ultimatum to start giving out farming inputs to farmers. “By now farmers should have farming inputs in their homes but what is being said is that they are auditing FISP,” he said.
And Shiwang’andu Member of Parliament, Stephen Kampyongo said it is saddening that farmers can be subjected to such suffering. Mr Kampyongo said farmers will lose out if the situation is not resolved.
He said farming season is around the corner but farmers are languishing at depots. Meanwhile, Some farmers in Ngwezi ward in Kazungula district, who took their maize to Ngwezi satellite depot, have asked government to provide them with empty grain bags as soon as possible.
The farmers complained that they have been sleeping at the depot for over three months now waiting for the Food and Reserve Agency (FRA) to purchase their produce.
A check by ZANIS at Ngwezi depot yesterday revealed that most of the grain bags are damaged and the maize might go to waste very soon. Sydney Siantwala, who spoke on behalf of other farmers, requested the new dawn government to quickly address their plight.
And Kazungula District Cooperation Union chairman Elias Muluwa said farmers in the area were suffering and needed urgent help from the government. “Farmers have brought their maize here for three to four months now. The rains are coming very soon. Look at the bags of maize which are tearing up resulting to maize pouring out. This situation is unacceptable to hard working farmers,” Mr. Muluwa lamented.
He said farmers were suffering hence government should assist them by providing them with empty grain bags. Meanwhile, Katombola Member of Parliament Clement Andeleki assured the farmers of Ngwezi ward that government will purchase empty grain bags for their maize.
Dr. Andeleki, who addressed the people of Ngwezi ward at the central market yesterday, bemoaned the poor leadership of the previous regime saying the Patriotic Front (PF) government did not plan properly about the procurement of maize in the area.