K2 million

Small farmers upset over K2 million emerging farmers fund

Irate smallholder farmers want to know how K2 million, which was allocated in the 2017 budget under the Emergent Farmers Assistance Fund to help them mechanise their farms, was spent.

At least 1 000 smallholder farmers were to benefit from the money.

Scores of farmers who spoke to Africanfarming.com on condition of anonymity said the funds didn’t reach any intended beneficiaries.

“Where is this cash?” asked one of the farmers.

According to him, small-scale farmers qualified for funding on a merit-based system.

The Ministry of Agriculture has not yet reacted to the complaints.

However, the Indaba Agriculture Policy Institute (IAPRI) says no money allocated to help small-scale farmers was released and executive director Chance Kabaghe said little detail is known on the operations of the fund.

“There is vagueness on how the agricultural budget is being executed.”

According to him, it is common for the bulk of funds to be released towards year-end. This makes it difficult to execute planned programmes effectively.

The agricultural budget was doubled in 2017 – from K3.43 million in 2016 to K6.08 million.

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