Elita Chikwati Agriculture Reporter
Zanu-PF is mobilising farming inputs from well-wishers to bail out about 15 000 farmers who were duped by Lasch Investments in a botched inputs scheme, an official said yesterday.This comes as the affected farmers yesterday also appealed to Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa to intervene by providing inputs for them to carry out their operations.
Zanu-PF secretary for Youth Affairs Cde Pupurai Togarepi said the party was looking at ways to assist the affected farmers to get something this season.
“The Department of Youth Affairs with the help of the leadership is trying to look at how it can mobilise inputs to help the affected farmers during this farming season.
“The farmers had joined the inputs scheme anticipating to go back to the land. It is unfortunate that the company failed to run the scheme. This is a genuine problem and the innocent farmers should be assisted.
“We have seen the challenges being faced by farmers and we are looking for solutions. We feel as a party we should assist the farmers so they can be able to provide food for themselves and the nation,” he said. Cde Togarepi said the party would distribute the inputs to farmers as soon as they become available. “We are worried as a party that the farming season is already underway and the farmers do not have the inputs,” he said.
The farmers who are still camped at the Cold Storage Company premises in Willowvale said they were suffering as they were living under poor conditions.
They complained that they had been staying at the premises for the past two months. The place does not have enough ablution facilities and there is no electricity.
The farmers’ representative, Mr Trevor Nyathi, yesterday said they were tired of being addressed by different people who were not bringing any solutions.
“We are appealing to Acting President Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa to assist us go back to the land. We have been promised inputs but up to now we have not received anything,” he said.
The farmers, who came on Monday as they had been promised the inputs, were yesterday told to come back on Friday.
“We now want Government to handle the whole issue and we do not want to see any officials from Lasch as these people have failed us before and we do not trust them,” he said. Lasch Investments launched an input scheme in July together with the party’s Youth Affairs department, where farmers paid joining fee, for Agritex stamp and various amounts of money for insurance in accordance with the intended hectarage.
Management misused the money and farmers did not receive the promised inputs.
Zanu-PF youth director Cde Tapiwa Zengeya, Lasch bosses, Evans Simbarashe Zininga, Patience Chipere, Christopher Tegwe, Fungai Mudondo, Sheilah Taderera, Stephene Mapfumo, Charles Mashumba and Nelson Mahupete were arrested for prejudicing the farmers.