By A Correspondent- The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission’s (ZACC) reporting platforms are inundated with reports of some community leaders across the country, who are sabotaging Government’s noble low input sustainable agricultural programme, Pfumvudza/Intwasa, through corruption in the distribution of inputs.
ZACC this week received a number of complaints in the manner in which the inputs were being distributed by some leaders in the farming communities before launching investigations.
Pfumvudza was initiated by Government to increase rural household incomes and boost national food security but some elements among the teams tasked with inputs distribution are derailing the noble programme.
ZACC has issued a warning to teams tasked with distribution of the inputs to desist from corrupt tendencies saying they will soon be arrested.
“It is extremely worrying to note that some unscrupulous leaders tasked with distributing the inputs are engaging in activities that are meant to derail the exercise.
“The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) has received an overwhelming number of reports from farmers across Zimbabwe complaining about the unprofessional way community leaders are distributing inputs for the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme.
“During the week, ZACC received a very high number of reports on its various reporting platforms, including Twitter, Whatsapp and SMS, from people reporting that there are irregularities in the distribution of the inputs,” reads the statement.
ZACC warned the community leaders against corruption and hailed the informants for assisting with the information.
“It is against this background that ZACC is strongly warning perpetrators of this criminal conduct that the Commission will descend heavily on them, without fear, favour or prejudice. The Commission also wishes to thank the vigilant whistleblowers who made us aware of these nefarious activities.
“It is through such boldness that we can, together, end the cancer of corruption,” the statement reads.
ZACC encouraged people to utilise the social media and other platforms to report corruption.
“Citizens must continue to report these and other incidences of corruption, on Whatsapp number +263719529483 or +263242307065/6/7, +263242369602/5/8/14 or zacc.online/tipoffs.”
Alternatively, they can report to the nearest police station.
The Commission encouraged the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development to formulate more watertight systems that encourage transparency in the manner the inputs are distributed to curb corruption.
Distribution of inputs under the Climate-Proofed Presidential Inputs Scheme, Pfumvudza/Intwasa, for the cropping season commenced recently with Government setting aside $152 million for the transportation of inputs from Grain Marketing Board depots to wards where farmers can easily access them.
There were reports that some councillors and transporters were demanding money from farmers for the transportation of the Pfumvudza inputs.
In Banket some village heads were accused of demanding US$4 from each farmer to be able to get the farming inputs.
Some reports from Murehwa accused village heads and their families of looting the inputs at the expense of the other villagers.
Where ordinary people are getting 2kg of seed each, a few selected relatives and friends of the committee members are getting 5kgs each.
Complaints from Mhangura are that the leaders are imposing additional conditions for one to benefit in the inputs scheme. Those who did not participate in the construction of a local school are being left out.
Those who do not have offer letters but are involved in farming are also not benefiting.
In Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe, there are reports that the committee members are demanding US$4,50 transport from each farmer who gets a bag of fertiliser.
In Manicaland, some community leaders are reportedly allocating themselves scotch-carts full of inputs while others go back home empty-handed.
In Muswenhende area, Mvurwi, there are complaints that those who prepared land for the programme are being left out on inputs distribution when those who did not do anything are receiving inputs.
GMB chief executive Mr Rockie Mutenha advised farmers not to sell inputs they receive as stern measures will be taken against those who abuse the seed and fertilisers.
Government is intensifying efforts to boost agricultural production through Pfumvudza to guarantee food self-sufficiency and commercialise smallholder agriculture.
Pfumvudza is a concept aimed at climate-proofing agriculture by adopting conservation farming techniques and involves the utilisation of small pieces of land and applying the correct agronomic practices for higher returns. The concept, which will be applied to maize, traditional grains and soyabeans will also commercialise smallholder agriculture.