Significant public expenditures to smallholder farmers in Zambia occur alongside high rural poverty. No significant differences exist in levels of poverty and hunger between smallholder farmers that receive subsidy and unpaid agricultural workers. In 20 years, hunger has reduced by around 25% in Malawi but by only 0.7% in Zambia. In Burundi hunger has increased by more than 25%. Agro-processing Small-Scale and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) can be a major driver of Zambia’s path rural industrialisation, cleaner and green energy, decent jobs and poverty reduction.
The Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) has not tapped agro-based SME’s to promote enterprise development and food security. FISP has had limited contribution to decent rural employment; crop diversification; agricultural productivity. There is opportunity to re-engineer FISP and align it to Zambia’s Vision 2030. Crop diversification through FISP would improve the food and nutritional security and positively impact the 47% of currently stunted children in Zambia, says Augustine Mkandawire, Senior Researcher PMRC.
Do you think FISP should be re-engineered to make it more accessible to farmers and enhance its value for money?