via Duped farmers vow to stay put – NewsDay Zimbabwe December 17, 2014
SCORES of farmers who were allegedly duped of their hard-earned cash in an input scheme involving a Zanu PF-aligned company, Lasch Investments, yesterday vowed to stay put at the company’s premises at CSC offices in Willowvale, Harare, where they have been camped for the past two weeks.
The desperate farmers have been sleeping at the company’s verandas to pressure the government to deliver on its promise to secure them crop seed and fertilizers.
Lasch, through its deputy director-general Tapiwa Zengeya, said the idea was a joint venture between his company and Zanu PF Youth League that was sold to the farmers who agreed to contribute $93 for supply of inputs covering a hectare.
The problem started when the deal failed to materialise before the onset of the rainy season, sending farmers into a panic mode.
In an interview yesterday, the farmers, who were huddled together following some heavy showers said they were now faced with a precarious food situation and no longer had money to buy from the small tuck shop within the premises.
Elderly Ketina Mupindura from Zvimba said she was clueless as to where she was going to get her next meal.
“We sleep here in the open with no blankets and now it is worse with rains because it gets colder in the evening,” she said.
The group, which consists mainly of women, said they had agreed to stay put until government has intervened and helped them get their promised farming inputs.
“We are calling on the government to help us. Despite our issue being covered in most major newspapers and even on television we have not received any help,” said Esther Mafirekureva from Bindura.
“I cannot go home because my husband will not understand this. I sold all our cows and so how do I face my family,” said Mafirekureva.
The farmers are angry that the Lasch management who have since vacated the offices used the Zanu PF logo to entice them into joining.
“We thought we were the same people for a same cause, but we were so wrong. These people had ulterior motives,” said another bitter farmer.
Police in Harare said they had received 115 fraud reports from some of the estimated 15 000 affected farmers.