Presidential inputs distribution controls tightened 

Source: Presidential inputs distribution controls tightened | The Herald

Presidential inputs distribution controls tightened
Mr Rockie Mutenha

Nyore Madzianike and Precious Manomano

GOVERNMENT has tightened controls in the distribution of Pfumvudza/Intwasa inputs to farmers with police officers, traditional leaders, Agritex officials and other stakeholders being enlisted to oversee the process so as to ensure transparency.

In this regard, the Grain Marketing Board has urged those entered into the programme to form local committees to co-ordinate the distribution process.

The distribution of Presidential inputs of seed and fertiliser to almost 3 million households is now in full swing with the GMB hiring trucks on contract to move the inputs from its depots countrywide to residential wards.

Police officers, traditional leaders, school headmasters, Agritex officials and youths have been enlisted to help oversee the distribution of Presidential Inputs after planting started last week.

Presidential Inputs are expected to reach up to 3 million rural households targeting farmers in communal lands, A1 resettlement, peri-urban and old resettlement schemes.

Those getting inputs will have at some stage over the last three years been through the basic training and have prepared their plots to the level expected by the Agritex officer checking the work done.

In statement yesterday, the GMB chief executive officer, Mr Rockie Mutenha, said inputs would be handed over to beneficiaries on the lists generated by local committees.

“A beneficiary list is generated by the local leadership and submitted to GMB for release of inputs to the committee comprising councillors, officers from Agritex and police, headmasters of local schools, chiefs’ representatives and youths.

“Inputs are transported on contracted trucks and GMB is responsible for the transport of the inputs from the depot to the ward.

“The transporter will be paid by GMB on production of an invoice,” he said.

Mr Mutenha stressed that no farmer should pay for distribution of inputs from depots to wards since that cost was borne by the GMB.

“No payment should be given to any official including the transporter.

“In the event that demand for transport costs is made, beneficiaries are advised to report to GMB’s Risk Department or to the nearest police station for immediate recourse,” he said.

Mr Mutenha dismissed as false and misleading reports in some sections of the media alleging that GMB was charging rural farmers for delivery of inputs adding that such allegations were as a result of misinformed people.

“The Grain Marketing Board has noted with concern, malicious reports by some media houses purporting that GMB is ripping off rural farmers by making them pay for deliveries of Pfumvudza inputs. Such allegations are misinformed and should be dismissed,” he said.

Farmers are already receiving inputs under the Presidential scheme.

More than 2,6 million farmers have been trained under the Government Climate Proofed Presidential Inputs programme, Pfumvudza/Intwasa.

The number represents a considerable jump from the 1,9 million farmers trained by the same time last year and those entering the programme late can be trained.

The budget was for 3 million rural farmers on the full package programme and 500 000 urban farmers who, since they have access to just small plots they can use, receive a curtailed package.

Land preparation is largely complete with planting for the new season now underway.

Local Agritex officers after studying rains which have started falling with a view to advising farmers accordingly. Planting can only start viably when the ground is well soaked.

Of those who have undergone the training, 1 442 128 are women, outnumbering the 1172 058 men.

Reports also show that Mashonaland Central Province is leading in the Pfumvudza programme with more than 297 000 women participating compared to 235 000 men followed by Mashonaland East province where 246 000 women are participating compared to 205 000 men.

Farmers unions say the rise in the number of farmers who are taking up Pfumvudza training is a sign that the harvest will meet demand for summer grains for more than a year, and if the season is as expected, then there will be respectable carry-over stocks.

Pfumvudza farmers receive free inputs for up to five plots of grain, oil seed, and legumes, with the mix and the type of grain set by climate conditions in each production zone.

Generally a family will consume on farm up to the equivalent of two plots, leaving the rest for sale at guaranteed prices.

The expansion in the scheme is not just the number of extra households, but also the fact that households extend the number of plots they prepare, from an average of one or two in their first season, as they add plots each year.

Zimbabwe Indigenous Women Farmers Association Trust president Mrs Depinah Nkomo said the increased Pfumvudza uptake was a welcome development which would help maximise outputs.

She said the majority of farmers were busy in the fields planting under Pfumvudza which was a positive step towards achieving food security.

“There is an increase in the number of farmers who are taking up Pfumvudza training. Most of them have realised that the concept is important.

“Pfumvudza is the only way to go in terms of food security and sustainability.

“Right now, most farmers are on the ground, planting. We have received Pfumvudza inputs and we are taking advantage of the rains which we are receiving.

“Distribution of inputs is going on well here in Chegutu area. We all shared equally our inputs. We are grateful for the Government’s support,” Mrs Nkomo said.

Tobacco Farmers Union Trust president, Mr Victor Mariranyika, urged farmers to diversify, improve on horticultural products and to take up Pfumvudza training in large numbers to ensure food security and boost household incomes by selling the surplus.

“I recommend farmers to take up this training. Pfumvudza is the only way to go in terms of ensuring food security and sustainability.

“The increase in farmers’ participation is a great sign which symbolises that the nation will be self-sufficient in terms of food crops.”

Pfumvudza is aimed at ensuring that smaller farms are run as proper businesses, with the farmers retaining what they need for on-farm consumption and selling the rest of the harvest.

The training includes business areas such as how to keep proper records.

The programme started with cereals but has now been spread to cotton with more farmers joining after seeing positive results from last season.