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22 arrested over Pfumvudza inputs theft

by Staff reporter
22 Oct 2023 at 09:13hrs | Views
Efforts to combat the misappropriation of fertilizers intended for distribution under the Presidential Inputs Programme are yielding results, with nearly 90 tonnes of recovered fertilizers and 22 arrests made to date. The government, in partnership with the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and law enforcement agencies, is cracking down on unscrupulous individuals who divert these inputs for illegal resale on the black market.

The Climate-Proofed Presidential Input Scheme (Pfumvudza/Intwasa) aims to provide free inputs to 3.5 million smallholder farmers nationwide to ensure food security at both the household and national levels. However, some criminals have been illicitly selling these inputs, prompting the GMB and the police to launch a campaign to arrest and recover misappropriated items.

Dr. Edson Badarai, the CEO of GMB, emphasized that these inputs are not for sale but are intended for deserving beneficiaries. The crackdown is designed to disrupt the black market for these inputs, making it unfavorable for dealers.

Additionally, Dr. Badarai mentioned that inputs are now becoming targets of armed robberies. To prevent such incidents, inputs are being escorted from GMB depots to the wards by a team comprising GMB staff, extension officers, and members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).

Last year, the government took steps to address the diversion of inputs by establishing ward-based integrity inputs distribution committees. These committees include local councillors, an appointee of the local chief, an Agriculture and Rural Development Advisory Services (ARDAS) extension officer, youth and women's representatives, as well as a local headmaster.

The distribution of inputs is currently underway, and the government has provisionally set October 31 as the final date. Farmers are receiving conservation agriculture training and preparing their fields for planting. This year, the government has imposed a condition that only farmers with prepared fields will be eligible for the program.

Dr. Shadreck Makombe, the president of the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union, has praised the new strategy for its efforts to combat corruption.

Source - SundayMail