General News of Monday, 18 September 2017
The Agriculture Ministry has cautioned beneficiaries of government’s inputs loaned to them under the Planting for Food and Job programme [PFFJ] to pay back or be compelled to do so.
The Ministry said it will resort to “primitive measures” to retrieve the money if peasant farmers who signed up for the loaned inputs “deliberately” falter with the payment.
Deputy Agriculture Minister, Dr. Sagre Bambagni said the Ministry has streamlined its policy on loans to eliminate cases of bad loans.
He told Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee Monday tractors given some farmers last year to bolster their work were not paid.
“Farmers were required to pay cash and carry with the lowest [tractor] costing ?77,000 yet the poor farmer was not able to pay because we didn’t have that trust,” he said.
The government under the PFFJ programme has distributed subsidised fertilisers to farmers to be paid on the basis of instalment.
Recipients of the fertiliser are expected to pay 50 percent of the subsidised price, which would be reimbursed after harvesting their produce.
But the 2015 Auditor General’s report has indicated similar loan schemes managed in the past generated negative consequences.
Dr Bambagni said the Ministry will not allow the current scheme to suffer the fate of the previous ones.
“We want to impress upon [our farmers] that we are going to take very primitive measures against those who will deliberately refuse to pay for our credit,” he said.
The deputy Minister said as part of the biometric registration of farmers across the country, government will track defaulting farmers and blacklist them.