BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
About 72 motor cycles given to Agricultural Technical and Extension Services (Agritex) workers by government early this year have crashed due to poor driving, Parliament has heard.
Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement minister Anxious Masuka told the National Assembly on Wednesday that most Agritex officers did not know how to operate the motorcycles.
He said government had engaged the Central Mechanical Equipment Department (CMED) to train them.
Masuka said government gave motorbikes to the Agritex officers who were mainly involved in livestock production to enhance their mobility in communities.
“We heard that more than 72 extension officers were involved in accidents. We are saying one accident is too many. We are working with the CMED who are assisting the extension officers to be able to ride the motorcycles and to be well-versed in the use of the motorbikes for them to do their work well.”
Masuka also said that government would avail tablets and computers to the Agritex officers to enable them to do their work. He added that government was revamping the Agritex department as a strategy to ensure maximum support to farmers to boost agricultural production.
Through efficient services rendered by Agritex workers, the ministry is targeting to transform 360 000 A1 farmers to small-to-medium enterprises and 1,8 million peasant farmers into commercial farmers.
“It is in this regard that government is at a very advanced stage of restructuring Agritex,” he said.