POLICE in Mambwe district of Eastern Province have recovered 63 by 50 kilogram bags of fertiliser believed to have been stolen from some farmers of Msoro ward in Mambwe Constituency.
Confirming the development to journalists, Mambwe District Commissioner William Banda said the bags of fertiliser were suspected to have been stolen from the farmers under the Farmer Input Support Program (FISP).
Banda said the bags were recovered after a tip off from members of the public.
“After receiving complaints from farmers and a tip-off from members of the public, I went with the police officers to verify the information and the bags of fertiliser were recovered from one of the shops,” he said.
The District Commissioner said farmers in the area had been complaining that they had not received the inputs and alleging that they were left out on the list beneficiaries when in fact not.
Banda said some district agricultural officers were being investigated in connection with theft of the said fertiliser.
“Government will not allow farmers to suffer when we have enough agriculture inputs in the district being stolen by unscrupulous people mandated to distribute these inputs,” he warned.
Banda said the bags of fertiliser were being kept at Msoro Police post for safety, adding that investigations have been instituted.
And some farmers asked government to help them access inputs.
Isaac Sakala and Jackson Phiri said some farmers had not yet been given the inputs because their names were not on the beneficiaries list.
Sakala said most farmers who were turned away on pretext that they were not on the beneficiaries list should be given their inputs.
“How can they keep fertiliser for three weeks without giving the farmers? And how can the same farmers who benefited in the last farming season miss out on this year’s beneficiaries list?” asked Sakala.
Phiri appealed to law enforcement agencies to ensure that the people who stole the fertiliser are arrested.
“The thieves must be arrested, and the farmers who did not receive their inputs should be given immediately”, said Phiri.