THE issue of crooked agro dealers is becoming increasingly worrisome and threatening the wellbeing of the agricultural sector.
Reports of some agro dealers not honouring their obligations are being told almost every day from all corners of Zambia.
It is all easy to surmise that these dishonest agro dealers are making a killing for themselves from a government well-intended programme meant to help poor farmers with inputs.
The obvious objective is also to bolster agriculture and make it one of Zambia’s largest mainstays of the economy.
But reports emanating from Kalomo where scores of farmers from various agriculture camps have appealed to government to investigate some agro dealers who have failed to supply them with inputs despite having redeemed their card less accounts for the 2017-18 farming season are extremely worrying.
The farmers who marched to the local police station to lodge their complaints after they dragged along the district agriculture coordinator, (DACO), say their fields of crops have been badly affected due to the non-availability of fertilizers from government appointed agro dealers who have dubiously failed to supply them with inputs.
The farmers have a genuine complaint because apart from not receiving their farming inputs, they have continued to spend money to travel from their villages to Kalomo town in the hope of securing some inputs, but all has been in vain.
Elsewhere there have been reports of the same agro dealers supplying farmers underweight and expired fertilizers to unsuspecting farmers.
This cannot be allowed as business as usual. Government through the police should get to work and flush out these bags eggs.
We similarly agree with Southern province PF information and publicity secretary, Paul Silungwe who has equally expressed concern on how farmers are being treated by some agro dealers.
It is true that the conduct of some agro dealers, not only in Kalomo but nationwide is increasingly tarnishing the image of government which has done enough to make farming a profitable and viable business especially for the peasant farmers by subsiding the inputs.
For all we know these initial reports may just be the tip of the iceberg and there is every need now by concerned stakeholders to start attacking the problem effectively for the good of our agriculture