AGRICULTURE minister Joseph Made has said the government is working on clamping down on beneficiaries selling subsidised agricultural inputs on the black market.
Source: Clampdown on farmers selling inputs – NewsDay Zimbabwe December 8, 2016
BY OBEY MANAYITI
In an interview with NewsDay on the sidelines of a Chinese handover of 9 550 metric tonnes of urea fertiliser yesterday, Made said the illegal sale of inputs was rampant among large-scale farmers and those contracted under command agriculture.
Made said a “freebies mentality” was the root cause of the problem.
“It’s always a difficult question to be very frank on that,” he said.
“The issue is that whenever you have a sense of free inputs, every other person, who is of a bad intention, sees value in saying, ‘I have sold a bag of fertiliser and I have $30’. The intention is that, for those who are real farmers, who say ‘my purpose as a farmer is to produce a crop and my income should be derived from the crop that I will be having’.
“So that one is an issue to do with how we get the moral uprightness and the position of a person to say ‘I am not a farmer and I am not interested in taking these inputs without seeing the dollar sign that I must make money for myself’.”
Made said they might need to change the way they distribute the inputs and start including banks in areas of financing agriculture.
He said rarely do small-scale farmers involve themselves in inputs scandals.
“We cannot allow this to happen and I would want to say that where it relates to the commercial side of things, we are very strict and we have to tell people that no, this is not the right way to do things. We must do things in an honest way, people must not see an easy way of making money,” Made said.
He said his ministry was working with, among others, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, the Finance ministry and other financial institutions to see if there could be a more effective way of distributing the inputs in the future.
Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Huang Ping chronicled numerous initiatives underway to help the country including a $5 billion facility that will be extended to Zimbabwe.
Most farmers in rural areas, particularly those supporting opposition parties, have been denied access to the government-sourced inputs. But the majority of inputs have found their way to the black market where they are sold cheaply.