Chieftainess Nyanje of Sinda District says farmers in the area still do not understand the electronic voucher system that was established last year without sensitisation.
In interview at her palace, the traditional leader said government rushed into implementing the system before people understood it and some farmers ended up depositing funds into wrong accounts.
“This e-voucher issue has not helped farmers well because it has robbed farmers in some way. I say this because last year, farmers [who were] in a rush not knowing what was happening, ended up depositing monies in wrong hands and they lost! This can be a good programme, which government has introduced, but the problem is that they rushed into implementing it. They were supposed to educate, sensitise farmers to the fullest until they have understood the concept before implementing it, but now it’s not good as farmers can’t even explain what it is,” Chieftaness Nyanje said.
She reminded government that policies can be effective, but only if citizens understand them well.
“Government is not there to destroy, but to build, and I believe the intention of the e-voucher is to promote good agriculture system among farmers and once it’s done in a transparent manner, truly, the positive results could be visibly seen. But last year, others have not received fertilizer and seed despite paying up to now,” Chieftainess Nyanje said.
She lamented that the electronic system had also disappointed farmers because most of them could not find their registered names in the system, a situation which had demoralized them.
When asked how farmers were swindled of their monies, Chieftainess Nyanje suggested that the mobile money platforms on cell phone networks were problematic as most farmers lacked the devices to access the services.
“What use to happen last year is that, farmers were told to pay the monies for their packs using these mobile agents to which some paid to right agents and they received the fertilizer and seed, but others paid to thieves, who just created booths taking advantage of the desperate farmers and because they don’t know what happens once they pay they were told they will receive a pin code later and that was the end. So, for this year, I appeal to government to closely monitor the exercise so that farmers don’t lose monies by theft again,” she replied.
The traditional leader further appealed to her subjects to pave way for people conducting indoor spraying activities, and that whoever will be reported denying them entry in their homes would be dealt with.
“The other thing is that there are young men and women who have been tasked by the Health Department to spray our houses to ensure we don’t get certain diseases so everyone should welcome them, and anyone who will be reported refusing them entry in their houses will be dealt with. They are not thieves they are there to protect us from future illnesses; and two, let each one dig a toilet soon; we will start a check and if found with no toilet, surely, it’s another issue because open defecation is bad as it attracts outbreaks of disease, especially during rainy season,” appealed Chieftainess Nyanje.