The government, through the District Development Fund (DDF), has availed trucks to assist command agriculture farmers in Chipinge east who were being charged exorbitant prices by transporters to ferry their maize to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB).

According to the farmers, they were being forced to pay between ZWL$500-$800 for an average distance of about 40km while some farmers were now being forced to sell their crop at give-away prices to manipulative dealers who are taking advantage of the situation.

The farmers welcomed the urgent response by the government confirming that since Wednesday the trucks have been up and down transporting grain.

Chairperson for Chipinge command agriculture, Mr Tapuwanashe Chagwesha told ZBC News that their office is expecting at least 3 000 tonnes of grain before month end, given the quick response by the government.

“By month-end, we are expecting to have delivered at least 3 000 tonnes to Chipinge GMB since DDF has intervened on transport challenges,” he said.

DDF Manicaland Provincial Coordinator, Mr Robert Chawatama said the initiative is being introduced across all the districts in the country to address transport challenges being faced by farmers.

“We have provided 4 by 7 tonne trucks following the outcry by Chipinge farmers, but it is a programme launched nationwide to assist our farmers, especially now with the ongoing fuel crisis,” said Mr Chawatama.

DDF has been actively involved in Manicaland especially in the aftermath of the Cyclone Idai disaster to resuscitate infrastructure, water and sanitation while also addressing transport challenges.