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August 12, 2008

Zambia almost triples fertiliser subsidy

The government of Zambia has increased the budgetary allocation for the 2008 Fertiliser Support Programme (FSP) from the initial K185 billion (US$55 million) to K492 billion (US$147 million). Minister of Finance and National Planning Ng’andu Magande said the increase in the budgetary allocation would enable government to buy and distribute 80,000 tonnes of fertiliser instead of 50, 000 tonnes.

The government has since increased the number of small-scale farmers to benefit from the fertiliser subsidy from 125,000 in 2007 to 200,000 in the coming farming season.

”In order to make the fertiliser available, the government has decided to increase the level of subsidy from 60 to 75 per cent of the price. This means that for a 50 kilogramme bag of fertiliser currently costing K220, 000 ($65), the farmer will only pay K55,000 ($16) per bag,” Magande said.

Mr Magande appealed to cooperative managers to consider the vulnerable and poor farmers before offering the subsided fertiliser to others. Heo said government meant to ensure that security was tight in border areas to ensure that not a single bag of fertiliser was smuggled or exported. He said those found exporting fertiliser would be arrested and imprisoned.

The Government introduced the FSP in 2003 to provide subsidised fertiliser and seed to small-scale farmers.

Zambia Daily Mail

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