Osbert Mashonganyika Manicaland Correspondent
Government has come to the rescue of Chipinge farmers who were facing transport challenges to ferry their produce to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) through a special arrangement with the District Development Fund (DDF).
The farmers had trouble ferrying their grain to GMB due to the poor state of the road which had been destroyed by Cyclone Idai.
The most affected farmers were from the Eastern and Musikavanhu areas, who were being manipulated and taken advantage of by local transporters who charged exorbitant fares that many could not afford.
DDF was tasked to spearhead a programme called grain-haulage in a bid to assist the farmers.
DDF provincial officer Mr Robert Chawatama said they started implementing the programme in Chipinge to enhance transportation of grains and other produce to GMB.
“We have been inundated with SOS messages from farmers in Chipinge, who were being deprived of their profits by local transport dealers who were taking advantage of the poor state of the road to rip them off through exorbitant fares,” he said.
“We have launched the grain-haulage programme, where an individual farmer pays $5 per kilometre using the Government fuel and $4 per kilometre with own fuel.
“We have deployed four lorries, each with carrying capacity of seven tonnes for that purpose.
We are cushioning farmers, we are not demanding cash up front, there is provision for them to pay through the stop order facility.”
Mr Chawatama encouraged farmers to inform their District Administrator and provincial Command Agriculture officers if they wanted their produce to be ferried to GMB through the facility.