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Thursday, Apr 25th

Zambia turns to e-vouchers to curb corruption in agriculture

Zambia turns to e-vouchers to curb corruption in agriculture.

As part of its Farmer Input Support programme the Zambian government plans to introduce an electronic voucher (e-voucher) system in the next three months in a bid to stop corruption in the distribution of farming inputs.

The e-voucher platform uses mobile technology for the activation and redemption of the vouchers.

Beneficiaries of the programme will receive their vouchers through mobile phones. This means that only people in areas that have mobile phone networks will benefit from the new system.

And if beneficiaries lose their vouchers, they can use their mobile phones to retrieve them as their phone number will be linked electronically to a specific e-voucher card.

Zambia's minister of Agriculture and Livestock Given Lubinda said the government would soon launch the mobile and tracking system to distribute subsidised seeds and fertilizer through private suppliers to specific farmers.

The minister said the e-voucher system would be launched in 13 districts as pilot districts.

Lubinda said under the e-voucher system, beneficiaries could be easily identified since they would be registered in the system.

"The ministry is already engaging seed producers in the country and signing contracts with them so that they could start providing seeds directly to farmers under the Farmer input Support Programme (FISP)," Lubinda said.

With the system, Lubinda said the farmers could be easily tracked and that authorities would be able to easily monitor activities in the sector.

Among the districts to benefit from the pilot e-voucher system are Chibombo, Mazabuka and Chongwe.

Instead of using middlemen to distribute agricultural inputs, the e-voucher system would allow farmers to source their inputs directly from seed producers and suppliers in the country.

Automatic payments are also made to agro dealers upon successful redemption of an e-voucher.

The Zambian government claims that the e-voucher system will not fail because it has successfully been used in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

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