Expose tractor drivers who rip off emerging farmers - Mpumalanga MEC

2015-11-26 20:21
(File, AP)

(File, AP)

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Malalane - Emerging farmers have been urged to name and shame drivers who misuse tractors belonging to government's Masibuyele Emasimini programme for their own gain.

Mpumalanga's Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs MEC, Andries Gamede, made the appeal at the launch of the province's drought relief programme in Mgobodzi outside Malalane on Tuesday.

He said emerging farmers from Bushbuckridge and Nkomazi had complained that tractor drivers were demanding money and diesel from the farmers when tilling and ploughing for them.

"This is unacceptable because the department pays them and also buys diesel. When they ask for anything, get my contact details from the officials and report them to me," he said.

"The tractors are not owned by an individual, but the government, because we want to see you producing food," he explained.

Back to the fields

The Masibuyele Emasimini (back to the fields) programme was introduced in 2005 to encourage communities to take advantage of government's agriculture-related projects.

Participants are given seeds, fertiliser and farming tools. 

Gamede said to prevent abuse, farmers needed to register at municipal offices so officials could determine how many hectares must be tilled for each farmer. 

"We cannot allow certain individuals to derail the programme," he said.

He also urged communities to stop using their money to buy beer, and rather buy seeds or seedlings and establish backyard gardens.  

Local residents ululated at being given direct access to the MEC.

"This is good news for us. We will able to plant in time without having to move from pillar to post. We will report (the corrupt).

"Masibuyele Emasimini is a great programme, but selfish people were hijacking it to further their personal interests," said vegetable farmer Petrus Shongwe. 

Read more on:    mbombela  |  agriculture  |  drought

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