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February 15, 2009

SADC audits use of agro-inputs donated to Zimbabwe

The SADC Secretariat has embarked on a fact-finding mission in Zimbabwe to establish the extent to which such agricultural inputs as seed and fertilizer provided by the regional bloc to boost food production in the 2008/09 farming season were distributed.

As of Wednesday last week, 4 324 tonnes of seed had been delivered to GMB depots throughout the country out of a targeted 4 358 tonnes.

There is a balance of 34 tonnes of cowpeas seed yet to be delivered from South Africa.

Inputs distributed under the programme include fertilizer (Compound D and Ammonium Nitrate), maize, sorghum and cowpeas seed.

A committee comprising Government, farmer organisations, the private sector, United Nations agencies, churches and donors oversaw the non-partisan, transparent and efficient distribution of the inputs.

The Ministry of Agriculture was responsible for the distribution of the inputs with GMB providing storage.

In a statement Sadc executive secretary Dr Tomaz Salomao said the mission sought to establish the number of farmers who benefited from the Zimbabwe Human and Development Fra-mework programme.

"The guiding principle for the assistance from the Sadc member-states is that the distribution has to be non-partisan, transparent and efficient. The development assistance includes R300 million from the government of South Africa for agriculture inputs to assist the country to increase its agricultural production and food security,’’ said the statement.

The fact-finding mission follows the launch of the Zimbabwe Human and Development Assistance Framework tasked with managing the assistance that Sadc has provided to Zimbabwe since early this year.

The country also received a full consignment of fertilizer comprising 7 700 tonnes of Compound D and 4 300 tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate. All the seed and fertilizer were sourced from South Africa. On its own, South Africa provided inputs worth R300 million.

Sadc launched the Zimbabwe Humanitarian and Development Assistance Framework on January 8 this year to manage assistance provided by the regional bloc as a counter to European Union-imposed illegal sanctions. This followed a plea by former South African president and Sadc-appointed facilitator in the Zimbabwean talks, Cde Thabo Mbeki, for the region to assist the country with inputs to ensure food security.

Sadc has been very supportive of Zimbabwe with the regional bloc resisting efforts by the West to adopt a confrontational approach on the country.

The Herald

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