SIMON MUNTEMBA writes
A SCAM in which some Zambian farmers under the Farming Input Support Programme (FISP) in Northern Province are collaborating with foreign nationals in smuggling subsidized maize into neighboring countries has been exposed.
This came to light at the weekend during his tour of duty of Northern Province when Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo made an abrupt stop over at Senga Hill enroute to Kasama from Mpulungu district.
In a shocking incident, it was revealed that some miscreants were in collaboration with foreign nationals indulged in smuggling of government’s subsidized grain into the Democratic of Congo and Tanzania.
The Minister discovered that some farmers under the FISP were aiding the foreign nationals to export maize to neighboring countries.
A visibly unhappy minister said it was disheartening that some unscrupulous Zambians had opted to work with foreign nationals in an escapade to buy off maize grain from individual farmers and export it to neighboring countries.
Mr Kamyongo warned those involved that they risked facing the wrath of the law if they continued with the scourge.
The minister also advised farmers who had benefited from the FISP programme to prioritise selling their maize grain to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) who would in turn roll out the maize to other buyers local or foreign.
“And we are urging our dear farmers to endeavor to sale their maize to the Food Reserve Agency who are actually buying this maize on cash basis seeing as government spends huge amounts of money each year to procure farming inputs for the farmers and so it is only prudent that government through the FRA assume priority when it comes to buying the maize from your our dear farmers,” Mr Kampyongo said.
Mr Kampyongo has directed Northern Province Police Commissioner Richard Mweene to put his house in order and immediately halt the smuggling.
He said it was high time the Police Command in the region took charge and ensure that they brought the culprits to book, once and for all.
He said his ministry would not take kindly with those involved in illegal activities such as smuggling of maize and Mukula tree into neighbouring countries.