Fortunate Gora Correspondent
Government is concerned with farmers using proxies to deliver maize to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) to evade repaying loans for inputs from the Command Agriculture Programme.
In an interview yesterday, Mashonaland West provincial agricultural extension officer Mrs Edinah Shambare said farmers should not default on paying for Government inputs.
She accused beneficiaries of the Government programme of using other names with different surnames not registered on the Command Agriculture list of beneficiaries when taking their produce to GMB.
“Some of the farmers are now playing hide-and-seek with authorities while some are using their relatives and friends to deliver their produce to the GMB,” she said.
Command Agriculture, which was spearheaded by President Mnangagwa when he was still Vice President, has seen Zimbabwe reducing grain imports significantly.
Government programmes for farmers also include the Presidential Input Support Scheme where villagers get inputs for free.
Government has since increased support for the latter to more than $400m in the next summer agricultural season.
Mrs Shambare said the Government programmes had boosted agricultural production in Mashonaland West province.
“The Command Agriculture has enabled us to improve our yields for farmers to pay their obligations while retaining enough to sell and generate extra income,” she said.
“There are, however, concerns some beneficiaries are defaulting on paying back their obligations to Government.”
The provincial Agritex officer also urged farmers to register for the programme for the 2018/19 summer agricultural season.
“Registration is already in progress and the farmers should go to their district offices and register because the inputs will be distributed soon,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Farmers Union provincial co-ordinator for Mashonaland West, Mrs Bridget Masikati, also urged farmers to play their part in paying back loans to Government.