Arrears owed to farmers to be cleared by end of October – Sichinga

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Agriculture Minister Robert Sichinga has assured farmers who have supplied maize to the Food Reserve Agency that all their payments will be cleared by the end of October 2013.

Mr Sichinga told parliament in a ministerial statement today that the FRA has so far paid out K11 million representing 20%, with a balance of K418.242 million representing 80 percent awaiting funding, for THE 407,113 metric tons of maize purchased as at 18th September 2013.

Mr Sichinga says the total value of purchased maize stands at K529.25 million.

He also acknowledged that government has exceeded its 14-days deadline within which to pay farmers after delivery of their produce.

Mr Sichinga says government is aware that delay in paying farmers is a legitimate concern, the reason why it is working tirelessly to ensure the continued flow of funding towards the payment of farmers.

And Mr Sichinga says the ministry of Agriculture will use the current Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) system for the distribution of inputs to farmers for the 2013/2014 farming season.

He says this will be done in order to avoid threatening the country’s food security.

Mr Sichinga says the 2013/2014 season will be used as a transitional phase when preparations for the implementation of the E-Voucher will be completed.

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