EFFORTS TO INCREASE SEED POTATO AVAILABILITY AND AFFORDABILITY THROUGH THE GOVERNMENT’S E-VOUCHER SYSTEM

 

Seed Potato on display: discussions on subsidization of certified seed potato through the government’s e-voucher initiative is on-going.

One of the major challenges facing majority of farmers in the country is the fact that the cost of quality inputs required to achieve a good harvest is beyond their financial reach and thus they have not been using the recommended quantities. To help farmers reduce production costs, the government introduced a farm input subsidy program. Initially the program subsidized fertilizer for maize only but has recently been expanded to include other farm inputs for other crops.

To improve efficiency in the subsidy programme, the government has introduced an E- Voucher system where farmers purchase the subsidized inputs from agro-dealers unlike previously where fertilizer was collected from NCPB depots only. This will go a long way in increasing the accessibility of the inputs by the farmers and also help seal loopholes where fertilizer was ending up with the non-intended recipients.

To further help farmers in the potato sector gain from the program, NPCK is in discussion with MoALF&C to find out ways in which seed potato producers can participate in E-voucher system. This is meant to help reduce the cost of production and facilitate production of more certified seed potato. Consequently, the E- Voucher benefits by the seed producers are expected to be passed to farmers by selling the certified seed potato at a lower price. This will go a long way in making seed potato more available and affordable.

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