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Farmers duped on fertiliser loan

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Over 500 smallholder famers in Traditional Authority Bvumbwe in Thyolo District fear to have been duped of about K5 million by a local company which promised to give them bags of fertiliser on loan.

According to representative of the farmers, Mercy Makhiringa, they signed an agreement with a local company called Agro Safe Solutions in August 2016.

The farmers were told to pay K5, 400 each for surety and insurance of the fertiliser loan.

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“In the beginning, we were paying K4, 100 for surety of the loan and the purportedly person in charge of the loan came again demanding another K1, 300 which he said was meant for insurance of the loan. We accepted and paid the money,” she said.

She said each farmer was supposed to be getting two bags of fertiliser each at K20, 000 a bag.

The loan was supposed to be serviced in 10 months.

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However, Makhiringa said five months later, no single bag of fertiliser has been given to the farmers.

“Our worry is that the maize we planted is now grown that it cannot respond to fertiliser,” she said.

On Friday, the farmers went to Bvumbwe Police Station to ask for investigations into the matter.

Makhiringa said the farmers were convinced of the loan deal as their chiefs were directly involved.

Meanwhile, Limbe Police Station spokesperson, Pedzisai Zembeneko, said they have launched an investigation on the alleged dealer, Charles Chibwana.

“All I can say is we have started tracing Charles Chibwana who is suspected to have duped the farmers in Thyolo. But the general public should be very alert when making such agreements with organisations or companies. Always seek guidance from the District Commissioner or police,” he said.

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