By Nozipho Sibiya | 2017-11-15
THE ministry of agriculture says the delay on diesel delivery in Rural Development Areas (RDAs) is caused by the depot companies they use as they service many fuel users.
The fuel users include companies, filling stations and small businesses in the rural areas.
Agriculture Minister Moses Vilakati was responding to concerns raised by farmers and Members of Parliament (MPs) that tractors were grounded at the RDAs as there has been no diesel. He said would be delivered in all the areas, thus farmers should be patient. Farmers have been complaining about government’s tractor hire service saying it is delaying them as they say the ploughing season has begun. The farmers argue that in some cases they have not been able to plough because they only get access to the service long after the planting season.
Vilakati assured that the ministry was working towards addressing the challenges faced by farmers.
The tractor hire subsidy programme started in 2009 with the aim of enhancing efficiency in all the country’s Rural Development Areas (RDAs) by providing more tractors. Through this programme, the ministry engaged private tractor owners to plough for farmers. The private tractors were an addition to the government fleet.
This year, government released 400 tractors for this service and this was done to help farmers take advantage of the early rainfall at the beginning of the planting season. Farmers who benefit from this programme are those who register with the Tractor Pool Supervisors at the Rural Development Areas (RDAs), who further advised them on the relevant procedures.
Payments for the service were done through revenue offices through the advice of the tractor pool supervisors.
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