Governement officials in Gwembe on Wednesday swung ordered the seemingly elusive Nyiombo and Omnia fertilizer agent to open a shed and release fertilizer to anxious farmers in the area.
The action follows the decision by Edson Phiri of ACE Auditor Control v Expertise, to continue to keep the commodity under lock and key despite farmers crying for the commodity.
Fertilizer application time in the district for both basal and top dressing is almost expiring considering the size of the crops.
Gwembe District Commissioner, Alice Mwiinga threatened to break the lock and offload the commodity to the impatiently waiting farmers if the agent continued to elude transporters.
Speaking in an urgent methreaten Wednesday, Ms. Mwiinga said government had spent huge amounts of money to pay the suppliers of fertilizer and wondered why their agent was still holding on to the commodity, a situation that has caused further delay in the distribution of fertilizer.
Ms. Mwiinga observed that government will have to spend twice by purchasing the commodity which has not been delivered on time and on further providing relief food in the imminent crop failure due to delay in fertilizer distribution.
“This man has been elusive for more than two weeks now making farmers to get stranded. He has been turning transporters away and lying to his superiors that transporters had not been going to pick the commodity. I will no longer tolerate such behaviour and more delay. This is why I am ordering police to break the lock, get the commodity for distribution and replace the lock,” said the visibly annoyed DC.
She further threatened to grab the key and entrust it with police in order to enable transporters to access the commodity for distribution if the agent continues to refuse to open the shed.
And a physical count by warehouse manager, Phillip Tembo in the presence of the DACO and Gwembe Police Officer-In-Charge, John Chanda, revealed that about 4,833 by 50 kilogramme (kg) bags of fertilizers were still in the warehouse.
Out of this number, 2,069 by 50 kg bags were for D-Compound while 2,754 by 50kg bags of
fertilizer were for Urea.
And in his defense, Mr. Phiri told the irate DC that he could only release fertilizer when he is instructed by his superiors.
He informed the team led by DACO Imbuwa Mushebwa that he would cooperate and allow the release of the commodity for distribution only after engaging in a lengthy phone discussion with his seemingly superiors.
There has been a general outcry from farmers to urge government to deliver fertilizer in time as they had not yet received both basal and top dressing fertilizer.