PM orders opening of farm inputs register
Saturday, 17 September 2011 22:04
By The Citizen Correspondent
Musoma. Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda has ordered the introduction of farmers’ registers for subsidised agricultural input vouchers to avoid cooked statistics. Mr Pinda, who is on a working tour of Mara Region, gave the directive in Musoma on Friday while addressing regional leaders on arrival.
His edict came after a regional report was read to him indicating that vouchers allocated to the lake zone region were not properly distributed to farmers.“Your report has shown the great efforts made, but I cannot trust these figures since distribution of subsidy vouchers has so far proved to be prone to theft and swindling, and I don’t think your case is an exception. Next season make sure that the vouchers land in the right hands,” he directed.
Mr Pinda said for the statistics to be factual it was necessary for every district and region to introduce a farmers’ register stipulating individual farmers’ records and the type of crops on which the specified output was used.
He further noted that agricultural subsidy vouchers were a notorious corruption prone area in the country. As a result, this reality had prompted the government to direct the Controller and Auditor General (CAG), Mr Ludovick Utouh, to audit its books.
Prime Minister Pinda justified his scepticism by putting in the picture the fact that agricultural productivity in the region was still far from satisfactory.Based on that, he urged the regional administration to promote the use of modern farming practices through mechanisation and ox-driven equipment in order to achieve the desired productivity.
“I usually insist on the use of Power Tillers, but it seems people misuse them here. As regional leaders you have an obligation to deploy experts who can help farmers to properly use the machinery so that they see its benefits,” he said. On animal husbandry, he challenged regional leaders and wananchi to realise the need of reducing the number of animals so that it matches with available grazing areas.
Mr Pinda also proposed bee keeping as an alternative economic activity that could improve the region’s revenue. Citing an example, he said:
“I have already started with a couple of beehives and my target is to have 1,000. You will be harvesting four times annually; the market is there and the price is not bad either,” he said.