That the Ministry of Agriculture is to review the Integrated Support Programme for Arable Agricultural Development (ISPAAD) is a call for celebration.

That the Ministry of Agriculture spokesperson is disappointed by farmers who neglect their fields is a call for action.

It is a sheer indication that the time has come to evaluate and review ISPAAD.

Poverty eradication is the moral responsibility of each and everyone of us. But the rampant handout practices aimed at helping the have-nots require a lot of monitoring and evaluation, least they are misunderstood by the recipients.

For some farmers to obtain free seed, free fertilser and free ploughing is a road to destruction.

Diligent farmers who used to look after their crops are no longer interested and blame poor harvest on lack of rain, forgetting their own contribution of neglecting their fields.

It’s not only time to review ISPAAD, it is also time to penalise poor performers by rewarding those who appreciate the programme and erase those who abuse it.

It is also time to introduce modern farming practices like row planting.

However, to ask farmers to row plant while tractor owners are paid a mere P150 per hectare is a joke.

We are the first to applaud and commend the ISPAAD initiative but we also think it is high time to ask farmers to contribute to the program for better results.

As my Development Studies teacher used to say, “there is nothing for nothing and very little for a thebe.”

If farmers contribute to the ISPAAD initiative, they will weed their fields and ensure they reap what they sow!

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