tendai biti ed 18-10-10.jpgFinance Minister, Mr. Tendai Biti, has been accused of deliberately holding on to about US$80 million which government wants immediately released to pay for maize deliveries and for securing agricultural inputs for the 2011-2012 summer cropping season.

Commenting on the 2011-2012 summer cropping state of preparedness, Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister, Dr. Joseph Made, said it is unfortunate that farmers are already lagging behind due to continued delays by the Ministry of Finance to release funds meant for both inputs and maize deliveries.

 

“The Minister of Finance was obligated to immediately release the US$35 million that is due to the farmers that have delivered grain to the GMB so that those farmers use those resources as they see fit and to also contribute to the start of the agriculture season.

 

“I must say as Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, I am very unhappy because the Minister of Finance has not released those resources yet I had the assurance that these resources would be available,” said Dr Made.

 

Dr. Made said it is also regrettable that after all the tenders have been signed, Minister Biti is yet to give the green light for inputs suppliers to release the inputs to GMB for distribution.

 

With weather experts predicting an early beginning of the agricultural season, observers feel there is need for cabinet to tackle the issue of funding agriculture with the seriousness it deserves to avoid the now too familiar excuse of late disbursement of inputs.