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Farmers should not pay for Presidential inputs

by Staff reporter
06 Oct 2022 at 06:01hrs | Views
FARMERS are not expected to pay for the transportation of agricultural inputs under the Presidential Input Scheme as Government has already paid the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) for the service.

The Government is targeting to distribute farming inputs to at least 3,5 million across the country ahead of the 2022/23 farming season.

In an interview yesterday on the sidelines of the Matabeleland North Presidential Rural Poultry Scheme launch in Binga, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Chief Director Professor Obert Jiri said the ministry is geared for the summer cropping season with the Government footing the bill for distribution of inputs.

"Farmers should not pay for inputs being distributed to designated centres in the wards. The supplier takes the inputs to the GMB depot and it is the responsibility of the GMB to then distribute to the centre in the wards," he said.

"We know that farmers would come together and contribute the money, but when they want to do that, they should engage GMB because it has the responsibility to move the inputs from the depots to the distribution centre in the ward."

Prof Jiri said Government has provided money to GMB to make sure they can move inputs.

"We know that Valley Seeds have moved a lot of seed to Bulawayo via rail. I know FSG in terms of fertiliser, they have moved a thousand tonnes via rail to Bulawayo. However, from Bulawayo to various GMB depots, it's now the issue of logistics using trucks," he said.

Prof Jiri said in terms of distribution of inputs, the ministry is prioritising areas which were in past affected by delays.

"In areas such as Lusulu, which are being shunned by transporters because of the poor road network, that is where we are saying bring the seed first. Value Seeds has brought 30 tonnes of maize seed and that is what we want," he said.

Prof Jiri said the distribution of inputs is expected to begin should this month. He said more than two million farmers have been trained on implementing the Pfumvudza/Intwasa climate proofing method ahead of distribution of inputs

"Under the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme, we have trained about 2,3 million households. In terms of potholing which is a major sign that someone has grasped the Pfumvudza/Intwasa, I think we are at around two million people who have done it," he said.

 "In terms of potholing on the side of the farmers, it is plausible we expect that we will reach our 3,5 million by mid-October. In terms of distribution of inputs, we expect all things being equal to start mid-October so that we have a good start to the planting season."

Prof Jiri said Government, through online distribution of inputs, is aiming to reduce abuse of the Presidential inputs scheme.

"As a Ministry, we have modalities that should be respected and there are distribution committees in each ward. Over and above the committee, which is supposed to oversee the distribution and the role of Agritex is to make sure that they follow the procedure," he said.

The Government has elected to use the Electronic Input Distribution Application for the disbursement of Pfumvudza/Intwasa inputs to curtail possible abuse of inputs thereby compromising the programme's effectiveness.

The introduction of the online platform is part of the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development's efforts to ring-fence the Presidential Input Scheme from abuse, hence the need for farmers to register on this platform, as they will only access inputs through the platform.

 Registered farmers are given grower's numbers that will later be used in a productivity audit, as the Government mainstreams business practices in the agricultural sector.

The farmers have to sign-up on the Electronic Input Distribution Application to be considered for inputs and will also have to log in to confirm the reception of inputs. This system will assist in increasing accountability and transparency on the part of both farmers and distributors.

Prof Jiri said the ministry has remodelled the distribution chain to enhance traceability and accountability.

Source - The Chronicle
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