ESAFF Zambia has been implementing ‘Strengthening Social Accountability and oversight’ in the agriculture sector in the districts of Mongu and Chipata in Zambia aimed at contributing to the food security outcomes nationally and regionally. The project which uses localized Public Social Accountability Monitoring (PSAM) approach to track budgets and analyse expenditure of public resources undertook trainings on PSAM in four communities in the two districts
Upon completion of the trainings in the PSAM processes, ESAFF Zambia established District Technical Working Groups through which the project picked and documented advocacy issues to be shared with different stakeholders which include government departments and ministries relevant to the areas and findings, the media and other stakeholders. Based on the findings and with the knowledge the communities acquired in the course of the training, the project went further to expose the participants to practical experience of participating in the 2019 Budget Consultations and feedback meetings both at district and national level.
2019 Budget Consultations:
The 2019 Budget Consultations in Zambia were held on 21st May 2018 both in both Western and Eastern provinces. Prior to the consultations, ESAFF Zambia had identified three consultants to analyse the 2018 budget and also to prepare a farmers position paper to be used during the consultations and presentation to the Ministry of Finance in the two provinces. The consultations took place in Chipata and Mongu towns respectively.
2019 National Budget Consultations and PSAM Feedback Workshops
These were held at District level in Shibuyunji district in Mwembeshi and at national level in Lusaka
Consultations were led by Ministry of Finance officials and included presentations from various sectorial stakeholders. ESAFF Zambia was represented by 25 participants which included the PSAM technical working group led by the Board member from the area Mr Frank Mukelabai.
Prior to the consultation meeting, the ESAFF Zambia consultant Mr George Munshimbwe held community meetings with small scale farmers at Mukoko and Nalwei villages to solicit information to consolidate the information on farmers’ position paper for Mongu presentations. Farmers in this part of the country have always felt marginalized in the mainstream development agenda as the area is perceived to be an opposition stronghold. However they continue to engage with the national government on equitable distribution of the national cake through forums like the national budget consultation meetings.
Small scale Farmers in Nalwei community in Mongu expressing their views on the 2019 budget consultations
The main consultations were held at the Provincial Ministers’s Conference Hall in in Mongu town which is the provincial head office and was officially opened by the District Commissioner Mr.Susiku Kamona on behalf of the Provincial Permanent Secretary. The details of the issues raised by the small scale farmers are contained in the Farmers’ Position Paper for Mongu.
Participants with Ministry of Finance Officials in the Mongu during the 2019 Budget Consultations.
The Chipata 2019 Budget consultations were also held on 21st May 2018 at Luangwa house and were officially opened by the deputy Provincial Permanent Secretary who welcomed the participants urging them to embrace the spirit of participation and dialogue with the government in order to promote all inclusive development. He noted that Budget Consultation was an annual event that gave stakeholders the opportunity for various stakeholders in the province a forum to discuss their various needs and to have them addressed through the national budget process. He wished the participants fruitful discussions and looked forward to a consolidated reports on the various sectorial submissions.
Prior to the budget consultations the appointed consultant for Chipata Mr Dominic Chanda also conducted interviews with small scale farmers in the process of preparing the Farmers Position Paper for Chipata. Farmers interface meetings were held at Mafuta community in the outskirts of Chipata town.
During the presentations, the Ministry of Finance officials took time to explain government incentives in terms of taxation and encouraged farmers to take advantage of the current incentives to import agricultural implements and inputs. However, in their rejoinder, the small scale farmers present felt that the tax incentives explained were only beneficial to commercial farmers as they were out of reach for small scale farmers and complained that they were being taxed for even sinking bole holes in their own farms. They also noted that they were struggling with ever raising production costs while returns decreased. They noted that value addition was key to promoting sustainable development and job creation in rural areas and requested the government to show more concern for small scale farmers. The details of their concerns were outlined in the Farmers’ Position Paper for Chipata.
2019 National Budget Consultations &PSAM Learning Event-Shibuyunji
This event took place on 6th June 2018 at Isha Mbingo Lodge in Mwembeshi Township in Shibuyunji district and brought together 25 small scale farmers members of ESAFF Zambia, Ministry of Agriculture officials, and Government Departments in the district, Councillors, and the media. ESAFF Zambia EXCO members also participated. The Workshop was officially opened by the District Administrative Officer (DAO) on behalf of the District Commissioner. In her opening speech, the DAO commended ESAFF Zambia for complimenting Government efforts in uplifting the livelihoods of small scale farmers in the country. She advised the participants to share with other community members the knowledge they gained from the Workshop. The Chairperson of ESAFF Zambia had officially welcomed the guest and ball the participants
During the deliberations Mr Mbewe from the Ministry of Agriculture in Lusaka presented a paper on the budget processes and the and the participation of small scale farmers participation in the identification and prioritization of farmers’ needs. The issues identified during community hearings in Mongu and Chipata districts were shared with the event acting not only as a sharing event but also as a validation forum for issues identified.
During the presentations by departmental heads in the district, the DACO informed the participants that a number of projects which the district PETs committee had identified in 2017 had made little progress due financial constraints. The Department of Livestock and Fisheries reported that animal diseases in the district was under control and that a number of cattle dips were now operational. On animal re-stocking in the district it was reported that the programme was ongoing with the support of the World Bank through the Ministry of Livestock and fisheries. The department of Community development also reported challenges facing the implementation of the Food Security Pack which is run by the Ministry. She noted that efforts to improve the service.
This was a national event that brought together 30 participants comprising the officials of the Ministry of Agriculture and Finance, small scale farmers, members of ESAFF, an agro-dealer and the media for a national sharing event. During the deliberations the farmer need and the challenges facing the them especially on the FISP/E-voucher operations were discussed based on the findings from community findings in Mongu and Chipata districts and as validated in the during the Shibuyunji workshop. The issues of taxation in the agriculture sector was also shared by Mr Namuchi of the Ministry of Finance Mr Mbewe of the Ministry of Agriculture advised ESAFF Zambia to move a step forward to invite Government Ministers to their functions for which he promised to assist so that ESAFF Zambia Official can curve a national profile and visibility as its influence at district levels was already established. The officials noted that ESAFF Zambia had now established good rapport with government departments and other stakeholders and what was necessary now was to cement the relationships by collaborating with government, the private sector and other stakeholders in uplifting the livelihood of rural communities and especially the farming communities by building their capacity and providing technical advice to the farmers.
Mr Christopher Mbewe of the Ministry of Agriculture addressing participants at the ESAFF Zambia National Feedback meeting on PSAM and 2019 Budget Consultations at ISTT.
ESAFF Zambia Board Meeting
ESAFF Zambia Board meeting was held on the side-lines of the National Consultations and Feedback meeting held at In-Service Training Trust in Lusaka (ISTT) on 8th June 2018.
Sitted: (LtoR) Kennedy Chipoya, Abel Yubana, Anne Katongo, Frank Mukelabai. Standing (L to R) ESAFF Coordinator, Henry Singili, Board members: Winfridah Kunda, Mary Sakala, Gertrude Chipeta and Dickson Siachoongo
Two Board members i.e. the Secretary General Mr Boniface Hangala and the Secretary for Capacity Building Ms.Grace Tepula photos are not included in the line-up as they were unable to attend the Lusaka workshop.
During the deliberations of the Board a number of issues were discussed. These included the following: