By Pretty Chavango
The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) has been accused of fanning corruption by using councilors to distribute Presidential inputs to farmers who were, in turn, being charged money when collecting those inputs.
GMB yesterday appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture and Resettlement to present on their work, challenges and the payment of farmers. It emerged during this meeting that although GMB was paying transporters to deliver inputs in different constituencies, farmers were still expected to pay money ranging from $1 to $4 as the inputs were not being distributed through proper channels.
Norton MP Temba Mliswa accused GMB of using slogans whilst handing out Presidential inputs and also using councilors to distribute the inputs adding that the councilors were doing so along party lines.
“When distributing these inputs there are slogans used which renders it unfit to be called Presidential inputs but rather a political input scheme.
“As MPs, we are not in control, but you use councilors to a point where we as MPs with the oversight role are rendered useless, we are not even told when these inputs arrive in our areas yet we represent the people.The councilors are asked to bring lists of people we only receive complaints of unfair distribution and that is when we know there are inputs in the area,” he said.
GMB, however, denied these allegations saying it was the duty of Agritex to identify beneficiaries as GMB did not have staff on the ground to do so.
“When we distribute inputs we do not look at parties and we do not use slogans. We identify beneficiaries through Agritex who are on the ground and they work together with the headman to distribute the inputs,” said GMB General Manager Rockie Mutenha.
Hon Remigious Matangira MP for Bindura South dismissed these claims saying in most constituencies councilors were the ones at the forefront of distributing farming inputs.
Hon Mliswa argued that the mere fact that headmen were used instead of MPs pointed to the fuelling of corruption.
“Village heads have got certain people in the village who are ZANU PF and MDC and so forth, you have already messed up the equation, this is why some of the inputs are given to people who do not farm. Some of these inputs end up with people who dont have land and come output time we have nothing because inputs are being sold”.
Chairperson of the committee Hon Justice Wadyajena urged GMB to use MPs when distributing farming inputs as they represent whole constituencies.