Farmers, who are mostly villagers in the area, are surprised that the interest on the fertilizer has been doubled from 11 per cent to 22 per cent without any justification for the increment.
According to the contract that has been signed with fertilizer suppliers, Nyiombo and the bank, Zambia National Commercial Bank that is financing the fertilizer purchase, the farmers have been paying double what they are supposed to pay.
Sources have said this is a cartel that has been mooted by senior ZNFU officials and the Nakonde District Farmers Association to defraud the unsuspecting farmers and share the profits among themselves.
Available documents have indicated that a bag of fertilizer costs about K203.5 which totals K1,628 for the eight bags of fertilizer that each farmer gets. The interest on the principal amount is supposed to be 11 per cent amounting to K179.08. However, the DFA are now forcing farmers to pay double the interest which is coming to K358.160.
“The situation is bad here because these farmers are mostly villagers who are illiterate and are desperate to get input for farming since the season is almost there. So some of them have even paid this 22 per cent interest, which is just going in the pockets of few individuals. All along, we thought ZNFU is supposed to promote the interest of farmers but we are surprised that they are stealing from these poor villagers who labour so much for their money,” the source said.
The matter has since reached the attention of ZNFU board who are investigating the scandal that has so far fattened their pockets of senior members of the management in Lusaka.
These senior ZNFU officials are also trying to intercept the payment for the former DFA chairman George Siame who supplied soya beans from his personal farm to C & J Harvey Farm in Shiwang’andu.
According to available documents, Siame supplied soya beans from his farm to Harvey Farm in Shiwang’andu owned by Charles Harvey worth K53,000. After the transaction, Harvey prepared part payment and issued a cheque to Siame for the soya beans.
However, before that cheque could be cashed the ZNFU officials instructed Harvey through the DFA not to honour the payment until they completed the inquiries into the transaction. The letter instructing Harvey to withhold the payment was signed by Lackson Simutenda who is now DFA chairman, his deputy Sunday Gondwe and vice secretary Doreen Nambeye.
But it has since been revealed that the ZNFU officials now trying to divert Siame’s payment for their benefit using intimidation by Muchinga assistant police commissioner Godfrey Chewe who has been entrusted as the recipient of the payment.
But Harvey has since resisted the pressure being exerted on him claiming he never dealt with them and will only pay Siame who supplied the soya beans.