With Zimbabwean farmers scrambling to find fertilizer at a price they can afford, sources say the Grain Marketing Board, which was entrusted with distribution of subsidized agricultural inputs, has been crippled by executive branch interference.
Parliamentary agriculture committee member Moses Jiri said GMB boss Albert Mandizha told his committee that the executive branch led by President Robert Mugabe draws up all programs for the state entity including the distribution of agricultural inputs.
Jiri said Mandizha and four other GMB managers said political interference has seriously hurt the agricultural agency, which is struggling to obtain reimbursement of US$19 million from the government which it spent on various agricultural input schemes.
He said the GMB managers also blamed current fertilizer shortages on a lack of finance and what they said was the Finance Ministry’s late release of funds.
Jiri said the GMB executives did not rule out corruption as another issue affecting the performance of the state enterprise. “They indicated to us that it is difficult to nail the culprits due to lack of evidence,” Jiri said.
Meanwhile, farmers in Gutu district, Masvingo, have protested what they charge is the looting by senior politicians in the local ZANU-PF branch of farming inputs made available through the Grain Marketing Board, Obert Pepukai reports.