THE Simiyu Regional Commissioner (RC), Mr David Kafulila has directed the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) and Police Force to investigate and take action against Agricultural Marketing and Cooperative Unions (AMCOs) leaders alleged for misusing the funds provided as subsidies to cotton growers.
He issued the order during his recent tour in Maswa District where he met various cotton stakeholders, including (cotton) growers and buyers.
The RC said that whoever found guilty his /her asserts should first be confiscated before taken to court.
"All public funds must be spent as per plan," said the RC, adding that:
After the culprits are identified, they should elect other leaders immediately to allow other activities to proceed since the region's mission is to let cotton growers switch to modern farming and therefore make the crop more beneficial to farmers and the nation in general.
Mr Kafulila said that through the five-year strategy plan for cotton production, the region hopes to increase productivity from the current 200 kg to 600 kg per acre, although the main target is 1,000 kg and above per acre.
The cotton growers urged the government to put to an end the AMCOS system, claiming that the unions have been holding back their efforts to improve productivity including delay in clearing their payments.
One of the cotton buyers, Manager for Alliance Company Operations, Mr Kitambi Charles, complained about the current AMCOS leadership, stressing the need for appointing new leaders with financial discipline so that they can deal with farmers welfare effectively.
He supported the RC directives over legal actions against unscrupulous leaders, stressing that:
"Let legal procedure take its path because farmers have been losing their rights, "he said.
Simiyu Regional Agriculture and Production Officer, Ms Kija Kayenze, commented that, the region has established what is called 'Agriculture Development', a digital data collection and record keeping system, just to fight the frauds and related issues.
According to him, the system will be allowing farmers to register with Amcos, sell their crops online and get feedback on time.