Inputs provided by the Government under the Pfumvudza Programme have got as far as Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depots in Midlands, but are stuck there since there is only one truck servicing the entire province.
GMB is responsible for the distribution of inputs right down to ward level.
Traditional leaders who spoke to The Herald yesterday said farmers were running out of time as most of them were still to get their inputs.
Chief Chireya of Gokwe said the responsible authorities should ensure that the inputs are delivered to the people on time.
“We have a problem here in Gokwe. The arrangement is that all the inputs will be delivered by GMB to wards so the beneficiaries can access them. The problem now is transport. We understand GMB has only one truck servicing the entire province and the distribution is very slow and people are now running out of patience,” he said.
Chief Mukoka of Gokwe North said the local leadership should allow villagers to mobilise funds so they can hire their own transport to collect the inputs from the depot.
“The arrangement is that we are not allowed to charge people a fee as we used to do as a way of raising money to hire transport. The local leadership banned this arrangement and the MPs have been pledging to help us; but they are not forthcoming. We are stuck,” he said.
Chief Maziofa of Mberengwa said local Member of Parliament Cde Tafanana Zhou had promised to help out but has not yet done so. “Under such circumstances, we will be looking forward to get help from our local leadership but they are not forthcoming, the inputs are there but we don’t have transport. GMB is being overwhelmed,” he said.
Midlands Provincial crop and livestock officer Mrs Madeline Magwenzi agreed that the inputs were available but transport was lacking. She appealed to responsible authorities to allow farmers to make their own transport to get their inputs at the depots in time.
“Under the current arrangement, GMB does not release inputs to individuals who visit the depots. There is an instruction that the inputs should be delivered according to ward and the only truck servicing the whole province is being overwhelmed. This is worrying especially with districts like Gokwe North. There are some areas, which are not accessible during the rainy season so they need their inputs earlier,” she said.
Meanwhile, Mrs Magwenzi said the province has so far received 127 motorbikes to be distributed to extension officers who will be monitoring the Pfumvudza programme in the various districts.
She said the extension officers were being trained at the Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) and 51 have already been provided with licences.
“All in all we are supposed to receive 735 motorbikes but we have so far received 127 and extension officers are being trained by the VID,” she said.