joseoh made 09-11-10 ed.jpgCabinet has approved a grain loan scheme which is an initiative aimed at assisting vulnerable farming families who are in grain deficit areas and are usually faced with hunger during the farming season.

About 600 000 vulnerable farming families will have access to a minimum of 50kgs of maize which government has availed through the grain loan scheme, an initiative aimed at cushioning farmers who are faced by hunger during the farming season.

The nature of the scheme is that traditional leaders will identify susceptible families who will have access to the grain through the grain marketing board and pay back during the course of the year using the grain that they would have harvested.

Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister, Dr Joseph Made confirmed that cabinet has approved the initiative, adding that what is being done now is to put the modalities in place to ensure that the vulnerable families will have easy access to the grain.

“Cabinet has re-established the grain loan scheme, which is meant to assist those farming families that are in grain deficit areas,” said Dr Made.

He said a committee to oversee the scheme has already been set up and 511 depots and sub depots are going to be opened across the country.

Dr Made said all the country’s 10 provinces are going to benefit.

The 120 000 metric tonnes of grain are going to be taken from the country’s strategic reserve unit which currently stands at 406 000 metric tonnes.

He emphasised that the grain loan scheme is a parallel programme which is running independently from the social welfare.

The unpredictable weather conditions and the shifting seasons have affected the country’s agricultural sector as yields are no longer predictable due to mid season droughts and flash floods.