Tag: minister of commerce

Hichilema and his govt’s contradictions on maize

Hichilema and his govt’s contradictions on maize Featured

Listening to what the Minister of Commerce was saying on Diamond TV’s Costa show triggered a thought in my mind. It revealed very serious contradictions about Mr Hakainde Hichilema and his government’s pronouncements on maize.

So the government is saying 95 percent of the maize is produced by peasant farmers, who use either hoe- or ox-driven methods. He also alluded to the high maize price that will motivate farmers to grow more maize.

So one expects that if farmers are going to grow more maize then it follows that they will need more inputs like fertilizer than they did last season. Consequently, one expects that the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP), as an example in terms of fertilizers to be used this coming season, will be more than the previous season.

But we have observed that FISP support to farmers is the same as in the previous farming season. So, there are a number of contradictions here.

If we expect more production, we expect increased consumption of inputs and an increased amount of fertilizer to FISP recipients. But the number of FISP recipients has reduced and the fertilizer supply has remained the same, be it six or eight bags. So where will the additional production come from?

Are we expecting new entrants who will provide their own inputs at their own expense? Are we expecting increased participation by commercial farmers while at the same time the government is saying 95 percent of maize production is by peasant farmers? Or we will end up with same or less production and blame it on El Nino as part of the mingalato?

Only time will tell!

Out of interest, we wish to know how much of our total maize production comes from FISP recipients? How much does FISP cost the government? How many hectares of land do FISP recipients use?

By the government answering these questions we will be able to measure the productive efficiency of FISP.

Fred M’membe

President of the Socialist Party