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‘Input scheme not Mugabe’s programme’

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Farm inputs scheme meant to mobilise agriculture inputs for distribution to less privileged farmers around the country is a government programme which should benefit all farmers regardless of political affiliation, State Enterprises and Parastatals minister Gorden Moyo has said.

He said although there were reports the farming inputs scheme was carried out under the auspices of President Robert Mugabe, the government programme was funded from the fiscus.

Moyo was speaking at an annual performance review meeting organised by Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe in Makokoba.

The minister added the input scheme programme was an inclusive government initiative which could not be linked to the President alone in any away.

Through the farm input scheme, the farmers would access agriculture farming inputs at subsidised prices.

The A2 farmers bought the inputs at subsidised prices of $5 per 10kg of seed maize and $15 for a 50kg bag of fertiliser.

Media reports recently said President Mugabe had introduced an inputs distribution scheme aimed at assisting farmers across the country.

The programme was alleged to have been hijacked by top Zanu PF provincial leaders across the country, with some provinces allegedly politicising the scheme.

Last week Matabeleland South Zanu PF councillors were alleged to have vowed not to give maize seed to supporters of the two MDC parties.

The government recently acquired huge stockpiles of farming inputs for the 2010/2011 agriculture season under the $30 million facility, which Moyo said Zanu PF has already monopolised.

The inputs were disbursed through the Grain Marketing Board. The scheme provided farmers with inputs such as seed maize, compound D and ammonium nitrate fertilisers. The inputs were also distributed to disadvantaged households and to A1 and A2 farmers countrywide.

“All the claims that the inputs scheme is (President) Mugabe’s programme is a blue lie. That scheme is the initiative of the government. We managed as a government through the Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti, to bring the inputs and we are now surprised to hear that the scheme come from Mugabe” said Moyo.

He challenged the media to report truthfully rather than campaigning for individuals through the use of public funds.

Moyo expressed concern that as the elections were to be held next year, Zanu PF was fond of using such schemes as campaign tactics to lure the electorate to vote for it.

He further urged MDC-T supporters to go in large numbers to vote for their candidates if they wanted the prolonged national crisis to come to an end.

He said as Bulawayo electorate they could elect their leaders through voting, over 500 000 voters from Bulawayo alone were enough to unseat Zanu PF.

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