‘Govt puts in place mech­a­nisms to sup­port farm­ers with agric in­puts’

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Mashudu Net­sianda Se­nior Re­porter

VICE Pres­i­dent Phelekezela Mphoko yes­ter­day said the Gov­ern­ment has started putting mech­a­nisms in place to sup­port farm­ers with agri­cul­tural in­puts ahead of the 2016/2017 farm­ing sea­son.

He made the re­marks as he dis­trib­uted an ad­di­tional 2 600 chicks to the com­mu­nity in Mpopoma-Pe­land­aba Con­stituency in Bu­l­awayo.

“The Gov­ern­ment has al­ready started prepa­ra­tions for the farm­ing sea­son and we are go­ing to as­sist farm­ers with agri­cul­tural in­puts such as maize and cot­ton seeds and fer­tiliser. In some parts of the coun­try where rain­fall is low, the Gov­ern­ment has agreed with farm­ers that they can ex­change their small grains for maize. We also urge farm­ers to plough early and no one should starve since this time we have enough fa­cil­i­ties to as­sist our peo­ple,” he said.

The Act­ing Pres­i­dent urged farm­ers to cul­ti­vate drought-tol­er­ant crops like sorghum and mil­let.

The Gov­ern­ment re­cently in­tro­duced the $500 mil­lion com­mand agri­cul­ture scheme aimed at en­sur­ing maize self-suf­fi­ciency this year.

e reg­is­tra­tion of farm­ers will­ing to take part in the pro­gramme has al­ready started, with the Gov­ern­ment invit­ing those in­ter­ested in the scheme to reg­is­ter with Agri­tex of­fi­cers in their re­spec­tive ar­eas.

The pro­gramme, which aims to pro­duce two mil­lion tonnes of maize on 400 000 hectares of land, will see iden­ti­fied farm­ers be­ing given in­puts, ir­ri­ga­tion and mech­a­nised equip­ment. The farm­ers, to work un­der strict su­per­vi­sion, will be re­quired to com­mit five tonnes per hectare to the Gov­ern­ment as re­pay­ment for the in­puts and agri­cul­tural equip­ment.

They will re­tain sur­plus pro­duce for per­sonal use. At least 2 000 farm­ers are ex­pected to par­tic­i­pate in the scheme and will sign per­for­mance-based con­tracts for three con­sec­u­tive grow­ing sea­sons. The Gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to em­bark on com­mand agri­cul­ture was ne­ces­si­tated by the rise in na­tional food in­se­cu­rity from about 12 per­cent in 2011 to 42 per­cent this year.

The Zim­babwe Vul­ner­a­bil­ity As­sess­ment Com­mit­tee Re­port says four mil­lion peo­ple need food aid this year be­cause of an El-Ni­noin­duced drought.

Other Gov­ern­ment pro­grammes such as the Pres­i­den­tial In­puts Sup­port Scheme will re­main in place to com­ple­ment the com­mand agri­cul­ture.

The Vice Pres­i­dent has so far do­nated more than 30 000 chicks un­der the on-go­ing poul­try pro­gramme aimed at re­duc­ing poverty and bring­ing de­vel­op­ment to lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

The chicks are part of the poul­try pro­ject the VP un­veiled last month. The pro­gramme which is an­chored on the coun­try’s eco­nomic blue­print, Zim-As­set, seeks to em­power com­mu­ni­ties through util­is­ing lo­cal re­sources.

He will next Sun­day do­nate an­other batch of chicks to res­i­dents in the same con­stituency be­fore rolling the pro­gramme to other prov­inces.

The chicks were sourced from com­mer­cial white farmer Mr Peter Cun­ning­ham who owns Maleme Farm in Ma­tobo dis­trict. — @ mash­nets

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