By Hlengiwe Ndlovu | 2018-10-11
THE National Maize Corporation (NMC) has enlisted services of 112 private tractor owners from all four regions of the country to service farmers who managed to register and pay on time for the subsidised service.
The ministry of agriculture officially handed over both the tractor hire and farm inputs subsidy programmes to NMC following glaring shortcomings when government handled the actual operations.
Yesterday, NMC staff led by Chief Operations Officer Cyprian Lukhele, took tractor owners through the drills of what will be expected of them when they do the actual ploughing.
This was through an engagement session held at Esibayeni Lodge where private tractor owners from all corners of the country turned up in their numbers.
Lukhele explained that each tractor owner would be furnished with a job card detailing the number of hours assigned to each one of them.
The burning concern from farmers, however, was that they would have difficulties coping with the number of people aching for their fields to be ploughed at the same time.
Addressing this concern, Lukhele admitted that NMC is not envisaging ’25-hour’ days either as it is just not practical to plough for everyone on the same day. He, nevertheless, assured that all farmers would be afforded equal treatment and that everyone would get the service, albeit not on the same day.
When approached for comment in the sidelines of this engagement platform, Lukhele assured that the 112 farmers had passed NMC’s technical assessments and that it is now all systems go for ploughing.
In another matter, Lukhele explained that NMC’s sense of urgency lies in the fact that all farmers must have their fields ploughed now that the rains are here.
He said they were quite sensitive about the rains because once they disappear, harvests would be comprised. NMC announced this week that 6 900 farmers registered for both programmes.
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