Be disciplined, payback loans – agriculture minister tells farmers 

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By Lawrence Paganga

AGRICULTURE minister Anxious Masuka, has told farmers to be disciplined and repay loans taken from financial institutions to fund their projects.

He warned farmers to desist from side marketing harvested crops as this was counter-productive.

Masuka was speaking after touring Mashonaland East’s winter wheat growing districts to assess whether the province had managed to meet its target to grow 11,000 hectares of the crop this year.

“We want discipline to be maintained at all times in the province to spur the sector’s transformation initiatives that are being spearheaded by President Emmerson Mnangagwa,” he said after the tour.

“Financing by banks or contractors should be paid back by farmers in order to avoid side marketing by ensuring that the crop is delivered to the contractor.

“We warn unscrupulous traders and they should be aware that we have a Statutory Instrument to guide us so that we instil discipline in the sector.”

During the tour it was noted that Mashonaland East province had managed to plant 83% of its targeted winter wheat crop, while the remainder was due to farmers who had failed to repay their loans after harvesting their crop last season.

Investigations carried out by Parliament last year showed that government lost over US$3 billion after farmers failed to repay their loans for farming inputs and fuel availed through the murky Command Agriculture inputs scheme.

It has also emerged that some tobacco farmers are side marketing their crop to avoid settling loans with their financiers.