Several maize farmers in Luapula Province have allegedly been swindled by unscrupulous people using counterfeit kwacha, says the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC).
This forced the DEC to conduct an intense awareness campaign among traditional leaders in the province to curb the scourge. According to a media statement by the DEC, the awareness campaign focuses on helping traditional leaders and farmers identify features of counterfeit money.
“Farmers must be wary of grain buyers offering spot cash and must ensure that the notes being tendered are legal,” part of the statement read.
Earlier in the year, just before the start of the marketing season, the DEC arrested five men in possession of more than K200 000 in counterfeit notes in two separate incidences. The counterfeit notes were suspected to be used for swindling maize producers desperate for cash.
Scores of farmers interviewed by Africanfarming.com say the high rate of incidences where farmers were swindled, highlight the many challenges of this year’s marketing season. Grain prices have dropped by more than 25% from a year ago.
Compounding the situation is an impasse over pricing between the Food Reserve Agency and the Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU). The union asked farmers to hold back their crop. “The low prices have made many farmers vulnerable to conmen enticing them with seemingly attractive prices,” said Derrick Mwape, a farmer of Mansa.
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