LUSAKA, Nov 17 - The Fertiliser Support Programme (FSP) under the ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives has increased the quantity of fertiliser to be distributed this year to 60,000 tonnes.
The amount under the fertiliser distribution programme targeting small scale farmers across the country was previously 48,000 tonnes.
FSP coordinator Mubanga Mushimba said this in an interview yesterday.
He said the increase was meant to allow more farmers benefit from the programme adding that 150 farmers were targeted this year from 120 last year.
He said the K114 billion exercise which was supposed to have concluded last month had been extended to this monthend.
Mr Mushimba attributed the extension to delays in opening a letter of credit by Government and awarding of contracts.
"We have not yet concluded the distribution but we hope to do so by the end of this month this is because there were delays in opening the letter of credit by Government and in awarding the contracts," he said.
Mr Mushimba said Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia (NCZ) which had been contracted to produce 10,000 tonnes had completed the production and had already been paid US $3 million for the contract.
He said measures had been put in place to ensure that no fertiliser was diverted to undesignated destinations.
He said transporters had been cautioned against any missing consignments as they would be required to refund the full value of the missing fertiliser.
Mr Mushimba who described last year's distribution programme as a success, was optimistic that this season would be favourable to help farmers attain improved food security.
The programme was introduced last year to help small scale farmers access fertiliser at a cheaper price.
Government has been selling the commodity at half the market price.