via Hungry villagers sell fertiliser to Zambia | The Zimbabwean 05.11.13 by Pamenus Tuso
Hunger-weary villagers in Binga have resorted to selling farming inputs they received through the government’s agricultural scheme so they can buy food.
The villagers are reportedly selling the farming inputs to neighbouring Zambia, where demand is high. A 50kg bag of ammonium nitrate or compound D fertiliser costs between $20 and $40 in Zambia but sells for between $15 and $25 in Zimbabwe. “Most villagers are diverting the inputs to Zambia where they get cash to buy food. Some are even barter trading the inputs with grain and other foodstuffs. At the present moment, the assistance which the people of Binga need is food rather than the inputs,” said a councillor in the area.
District administrator Lydia Ndethi confirmed the development.
“We have received reports that some villagers who benefited from the government-sponsored farming inputs scheme are selling the fertiliser to Zambians. This is an illegal practice and we are working with the police so that the culprits can be brought to book,” she said.
Binga is one of the areas in Matabeleland North province hardest hit by food shortages. Some children in the area are hiding in bushes during the day to avoid travelling the long distances to school. Hospital officials also say some villagers have resorted to eating poisonous roots.