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Simiyu AMCOS in hot  soup over cotton fund

Simiyu AMCOS in hot soup over cotton fund

Simiyu Regional Commissioner, Mr David Kafulila, has directed relevant agencies in the region to investigate Agricultural Marketing and Cooperatives unions (AMCOs) that are alleged to be involved in fund embezzlement.

The RC gave a 14-day ultimatum for the Police and Prevention and Combating of Corruption Commission (PCCB) to probe AMCOs that were given funds as subsidies to cotton growers in Simiyu. Mr Kafulila told cotton growers, buyers and stakeholders during a Maswa district tour that the authorities would seize the assets of the embezzlers once found guilt.

“AMCOs officials responsible for the misappropriation of funds should be taken to court and new leaders are elected to replace them,” he said.

The RC’s idea to seize the assets of the AMCOs is to compensate for the government fund losses. It is alleged that some 107 AMCOs leaders in Maswa have embezzled the cotton subsidies fund. Simiyu plans to increase cotton productivity from currently 200kg and 600kg per acre to 1000kg per acre in the next five years.

Simiyu Regional Agriculture and Production Officer, Ms Kija Kayenze said they have established a formal system for data collection and record keeping of cotton farmers called ‘Agriculture Development’ which will enable farmers to register with AMCOS and sell cotton online and buy some inputs.

“The framework is part of the implementation of a five year strategic plan for improving cotton farming the region,” Ms Kija said.

Some cotton farmers in the region have called on the government to put an end to the AMCOs system, claiming that the unions are holding back their efforts to produce the crop since they are terribly delaying paying their dues.

Alliance’s Operations Manager Mr Kitambi Charles said AMCOS members should elect honest and dynamic leaders for the betterment of their welfare in general.

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Mwandishi: FRANK AMAN

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