By Micheal Mwanza
We may have the courage to blame God on the rainfall pattern for 2018/19 farming season as a cause of 2019 hunger but at large The PF government lack of political will on Agriculture is a great source of 2019 hunger.
In 2017 farming harvest, we opted to export our maize to East Africa claiming we would make $13million on export forgetting we have a nation to feed.
As if that was not enough, In 2018 the government allocated a raw deal through FRA to Farmers when we had a good harvest of maize. Very little money was allocated for the purchase of maize and the government further allowed farmers to sale their maize elsewhere. If I remember well, Dora Siliya then Agriculture Minister allowed this. FRA price was as low as k65 then increased to k70 for 50kg maize. On a sad note in 2018 FRA only managed to buy 100,000 metric tonnes of maize instead of the usual 500,000 metric tonnes. Farmers opted to sale their produce elsewhere as it was allowed.
Further if you look at FISP and its e-voucher, farmers where getting farming inputs in January, February others even March when rains were almost ending. I wonder how complicated this FISP has become but lack of political will on Agriculture has now paid us with this hunger strike. Before we blame rains, let’s look at our system. Truth be told, we had the rains to grow and mature our maize but delivery of farming inputs was late and compromised. Some farmers never even gotten got the inputs. Some farmers who sold maize to FRA in 2018 delayed to get their money and hence had no money to prepare for 2018/19 farming season.
Other than the blame on rains, I blame the govt on this. Had it been that we bought enough maize through FRA to stock in 2018, this situation would have been control.