Government owes K56,355,627.64 to seed companies that supplied farming inputs under FISP for 2016/17 and 2017/18 farming season.
Michael Katambo, the agriculture minister said the debt is due to budgetary constraints suffered, as the ministry implemented the programme, adding that government is constantly engaging on the issue.
“We are closely working with the ministry of finance in releasing of funds to liquidity the debt owed to seed companies, and have started making payments to seed companies,” said Katambo Katambo said seed companies have been assured that government is making efforts to reduce arrears from the total ZMW174 million at the beginning of this year to about ZMW 56 million.
“This indicates that ZMW 120 million has so far been paid. We remain committed to meet the outstanding obligation.”
Katambo said the permanent solution will be to engage the ministry of finance torelease the funds on time.
During the 2019 budget presentation, the Finance minister Migrate Mwanakatwe said: “A number of challenges were observed with the e-voucher system during the 2017/2018 farming season. Key among these were limitations of telecommunication connectivity, financial services provision challenges and limited information technology.”
Meanwhile the agriculture sector has been allocated ZMW 5.4 billion for the next fiscal year.