Saturday, November 21, 2009

Chinyanta warns against corruption in fertiliser distribution programme

Chinyanta warns against corruption in fertiliser distribution programme
By Willie Sitali in Kasama
Sat 21 Nov. 2009, 04:00 CAT

NORTHERN Province minister John Chinyanta has directed the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives in the province to make sure that only the intended beneficiaries' access government subsidised agricultural inputs.

In an interview on Thursday, Chinyanta warned agriculture staff that he would not tolerate reports of corruption in the on-going distribution of fertiliser and seed to vulnerable but viable farmers in the area.

He said government had revised modalities for the distribution of the subsidised inputs under the farmer input support programme in order to curtail abuse of the facility by unscrupulous individuals.

"In the past, the distribution of farming inputs was marred with a lot of malpractices where some people diverted fertiliser meant for vulnerable farmers to their own fields. But things have changed. I am closely monitoring the current input distribution and anyone who will be found wanting will be prosecuted," he said.

Chinyanta said so far, he was impressed with the on-going distribution of agricultural inputs in the 12 districts of the province.

He said the fact that President Rupiah Banda launched the distribution of agriculture inputs earlier this year in Kasama, there was need for farmers to reciprocate by growing more agricultural crops and contribute positively to the national food security.

"So far, the reports I'm getting regarding the distribution of agricultural inputs to farmers are satisfactory. I hope this trend continues so that many small-scale farmers can benefit and in turn produce more food," he said.

Chinyanta urged provincial agricultural and cooperatives coordinator Luhamba Liyembani to be on high alert and halt any form of malpractice in the distribution of farming inputs to the targeted farmers.

Chinyanta also advised agriculture officers not to hesitate to confiscate agricultural inputs found being sold on the streets by unscrupulous traders.

He observed that the government was subsidising the farming inputs at a great cost and as such, it would not allow selfish individuals to frustrate its well-intended programme.

Chinyanta has since urged farmers to be productive and grow more agricultural crops in order to sustain their household food security.

This year, the government has allocated 15, 500 metric tonnes of both basal and top fertilisers to Northern Province for the 2009/2010 farming season.

Over 77,000 small-scale farmers are expected to benefit from the subsidised inputs in the province.

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