Malawi farmers push govt to prosecute culprits in fake fertiliser scandal

Farmers Union of Malawi, a grouping of over 78 associations of farmers is asking government authorities to ensure that all culprits involved in Mangochi subsidised fertilizers scandal should been prosecuted.

Police in Malawi’s southern district of Mangochi on Friday evening impounded a truck registration number KA 5310 belonging to Simama Transport after 600 hundred bags of subsidized fertilizers it carried were found filled with sand.

Mangochi police said this was revealed when one of the bags burst open as people were offloading the subsidised fertilizer at Katuli Admarc depot.

Preliminary investigations into the scandal are implicating Optichem, Simama transport and Smallholder Farmers Fertilizer Revolving Fund of Malawi.

Jumbe: The culprits must face the law

President of the Union, Felix Jumbe says the development is tantamount to killing farming in Malawi.

“This is disheartening. How can a sensible person want to give farmers sand instead of fertilizers? What was the motive behind all this,” said Jumbe

Jumbe said it is sad that farmers in Malawi are being taken for granted despite the fact that the country depends on agriculture for its economic wellbeing.

“We farmers have been subjected to a lot of abuse. Some people have been supplying us with fake scales and substandard hoes among other farm implements. Now it’s fertilizers with sand,” Jumbe lamented.

Meanwhile, researchers from Bvumbwe Research Station have collected the samples from the fake fertilizers for verification and are expected to come up with a report.

However Public Relations Officer for the Ministry of Agriculture, Sara says as per agreement any contractor found flouting the rules governing the transportation of this year’s subsidized fertilizers is required to pay double the commercial price of the fertilizers damaged or lost.

Tione also said in a statement that transporters who deliberately divert fertilisers to other markets, Government will not pay them.

“And for those who will lose/damage the fertilisers, Government will charge them twice the ruling commercial price,” she said, adding “All these have been stipulated in the contracts that have been signed by the transporters and the Government.”

Tione said: “It is the wish of the government to make sure that this year’s program runs smoothly and successfully without any malpractices. “

Meanwhile the ministry of agriculture is appealing to the general public to  report any form of malpractice in time using the free hotline numbers (847 TNM/Airtel and 8000 0847 MTL) or physically visit any Agriculture Office, Police Station, ACB or members of the community policing.

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