SPEAK OUT: ACTIONAID URGES MONZE FARMERS
SPEAK OUT- ACTIONAID TELLS MONZE FARMERS.
….as farmers claim of poor service delivery….
The absence of social accountability in farming communities have resulted in most government services being under-delivered and poorly executed in Monze District.
Most farming inputs are being delivered to wrong areas contrary to the requisitions made and suitability of the local soils. The farmers have since appealed for strict supervision of agricultural activities in Monze District as resources were going to waste.
The farmers were speaking during two-day engagements with ActionAid Zambia and the Eastern and Southern Africa Small Scale Farmers Forum (ESAFF) held in Monze under the Partnership for Social Accountability Alliance (PSA) project. They revealed that some of the fertilizer from the Farmer input Support Program (FiSP) was being sold illegally by Government officials whenever the right beneficiaries did not turn up on time for collection.
“We see the leftover fertilizer being stolen but we can’t report to police because we are scared,” a representative from the women farmers group revealed.
Small Scale Farmer Organizations and traditional and Civic leaders (Ward Councilors, Members of Parliament) and some Government official attended the Partnership for Social Accountability Alliance (PSA) review and planning meeting whose objectives were to Strengthen the capacities of the five stakeholder groups’ approaches to social accountability issues in Monze. The focus areas were in health and agriculture.
The delegates wondered how the agriculture and health sector could improve If staffing levels remained low compared to the number of people to served. Areas represented at the meeting include Malumdu, Muzuri, Chona, Chisekese. Manungu and Hamapande Wards
Actionaid social Accountability project manager Nyambe Mwiyambango said people should be free to present the social challenges to the government especially on matter that were critical to their livelihoods.
The farmers bemoaned the poor extension services in the agriculture sectors particular on the delivery of farming inputs. In most areas one agriculture extension officer was made to serve over 4000 farmers contrary to the recommended ratio of one extension officer to 400 farmers (1 to 400)
The farmers complained that Government was not appreciating the local indigenous seeds that have proven to be resilient to droughts and other crop diseases. They have since encouraged Government and other farmers to promote soil testing so that appropriate seeds should be planted in correct locations. This could guarantee high yields and graduate some farmers FiSP.
Meanwhile, stakeholders have called for a harmonized relationship between the local elected civic leaders (councilors) and the electorate. The current relationship was unfriendly and unsupportive for development.
ActionAid Business Development and Fundraising manager Geofrey Sizala farmers should hold Government accountable as it had a responsibility to provide social services prudently.
The meeting resolved that there was need for capacity building on civic leaders in he Monze district for them to understand their role social accountability and the need to hold the Government accountable.
Through the project, Actionaid and ESAFF are promoting the prudent use of public resources and accountability of duty bearers.