As the marketing season draws closer, criminals are using counterfeit notes to buy produce from small-holder farmers desperate for cash, Zambian authorities have warned.
The warning comes after the biggest seizure of Zambian counterfeit notes by the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC).
“We would like to caution Zambians, especially small-scale farmers, to be wary of unscrupulous people using counterfeit notes,” said DEC spokesperson, Theresa Katongo.
The DEC on Tuesday arrested a 37-year old Zambian man for being in possession of K119 214 in counterfeit notes. The money was in denominations of K100, K50 and K5 bills.
A printer used for manufacturing counterfeit notes was seized when the suspect – a fish farmer in Kafue district in Lusaka province – was arrested.
Sources close to the investigation said people are enticing farmers with spot cash payments.
“Farmers want immediate cash for their crop, and those in the rural areas are easy targets for people using fake notes,” the source said.
Two days ago, the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) also cautioned farmers against rushing to sell their maize to so-called briefcase buyers. This after reports emerged that desperate farmers in some parts of Zambia were selling their maize for as little as K50 for a 50kg bag of maize.