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Input value chain/Zambia - Expedite e-voucher system, PMRC urged Government

24 November 2015

The Policy Monitoring and Research Centre (PMRC) has urged Zambian government to accelerate the implementation of the electronic voucher system in order to end delays in delivering of farming inputs and allow for diversification in the inputs received. According to PMRC Head of Research and Analysis, electronic voucher system can be a challenge to smallholder farmers due to network connectivity in rural areas, but the government has to help address this problem. PMRC Head of Research and Analysis furthermore disclosed that, a research by PMRC has established that businessmen are using smallholder farmers to buy farming inputs and reselling them by paying for their cooperative membership and Initial Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) contribution. E-voucher system stimulates markets by increasing the spending power of beneficiaries while reducing market distortions through improved targeting and use of local private sector suppliers. The system helps to create yields which benefits all actors in agro-input supply and value chains, mostly favors smallholder farmer by creating a better timely access to inputs as well as greater choice of input supplies. The Head Research and Analysis has called on Government to enhance the effectiveness of FISP through monitoring and evaluation of agro-dealer’s prices to ensure that farmers in remote areas are not disadvantaged as well as supervision during the utilisation of the distributed inputs. Moreover, she urged Zambian government to enhance efforts to provide technical support through improved extension services and equip cooperatives with skills to train farmers to improve input utilisation. The PMRC research finding has also shown that smallholder farmers are being used by commercial farmers and businessmen to buy farming inputs using FISP and later reselling them at a higher price. Nevertheless, the research found that literacy levels among farmers has proved to be a challenge hence, most of them have no knowledge of setting up cooperatives. The research was conducted in eight selected districts in five provinces were farming is more prominent. She acknowledged that, the research teams leveraged on the presence of Zambia National Farmers’ Union offices to effectively locate farmers and access information.



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