By Esther Manduwa

Minister of Agriculture has announced that the much touted Affordable Input Program will be launched next week.

Lobin Lowe said this in Parliament on Tuesday when answering questions from Legislators. 

Lowe has also disclosed that the country has One Hundred and Sixty Thousand metric tons of fertilizer in stock. 

 Lowe stressed hard to reach areas and areas that receive rains earlier will be first priority. 

"I want to assure the house that the program will benefit 4.2 Million beneficiaries of farming families targeted in the scheme,"  explained Lowe.

Then Minister added the project will use a system that would route out attempts to access the farm inputs multiple times.

On concerns of network problems, Lowe disclosed IT experts will Wednesday this week conduct a test run in the areas that have poor network connection. 

He further said the state produce trader ADMARC will also start selling maize since the National Food Reserve Agency is buying maize from cooperatives. 

In the proposed 2020/2021 national budget, the Tonse Alliance government allocated One Hundred and Sixty Billion Kwacha to the Affordable Inputs Program which will see smallholder farmers purchasing a 50 Kilogram bag of fertilizer at Four Thousand Four Hundred Ninety-Five Kwacha. 

The agriculture sector is in second spot behind education in terms of biggest allocations in the 2.2 Million financial blueprint. 

Overall, agriculture has received Three Hundred and Fifty-Four point Eight Billion Kwacha, representing Nineteen point Nine percent of the total budget. 

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