Govt avails inputs for 2016/17 farming season
FARMING inputs under the command agriculture system and the Presidential inputs support scheme are ready for collection from various suppliers across the country as Government mobilises more inputs in partnership with the private sector for the 2016/17 farming season.
According to information at hand, the inputs should reach farmers across the country by October 7, 2016.
The inputs include seed, fuel and fertiliser among others that are coming in a three tier scheme.
The first two schemes are the irrigated and non irrigated components of Government’s Special Maize Programme.
The third component is the Presidential inputs covering the A1 and communal farmers.
In a letter to the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda on September 23, 2016, Finance and Economic Development Secretary Mr Willard Manungo confirmed that Government had secured money for the inputs.
“As you may be aware, Treasury has been in engagement with the private sector over financing facilities towards supporting some of the programmes for the 2016/17 agricultural production season,” he said.
“I wish to advise that Treasury has concluded the negotiations, culminating in the signing of relevant facility term sheets as of 23 September 2016.”
Mr Manungo said $85 million of the raised amount would go towards the irrigated component, while $75 million has been allocated to the non irrigated component.
He added: “$66 million comprised of $30 million being Government’s share towards the Presidential Input Scheme, and $36 million towards Government’s support for cotton (has been raised).”
Our Harare Bureau is reliably informed that a local seed company has already supplied 500 tonnes of seed maize, which is now ready for collection in Harare while 4 380 tonnes of ammonium nitrate fertiliser would be available for collection in the next 21 days.
A Harare-based fuel company has also confirmed the availability of two million litres of fuel for the 2016/17 farming season, while 20 000 tonnes of lime have also been secured for the same season.
As Government intensified efforts to ensure that farmers are adequately equipped for the 2016/17 farming season, a source said, “The target is to have inputs equivalent to 50 000 hectares by Friday, September 30, 2016, and 110 000 hectares by October 7, 2016.
“Private sector players have also requested the Government to share its full procedure for the collection of the inputs so that they can start working with suppliers on the modalities for collection.”
The source said the private players also asked Government to provide quantities for the non-irrigated hectarage for both maize and cotton.
On Monday, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa said Government had secured $423 million to support the 2016/2017 agricultural season, while negotiations were currently underway for a further $500 million.
“Already, Government secured more than $423 million towards supporting the 2016/2017 agricultural season, and the objective is to be self-sufficient in food security in the event that the heavens smile on us and give us normal rains this season,” he said.
Minister Chinamasa noted that agriculture remained the anchor of poverty reduction and was a common outcome throughout many consultations that were undertaken by Government.
In support of the revival of agricultural production, Government adopted a Special Maize Production Programme targeting 400 000 hectares of land for the forthcoming season expected to produce at least two million tonnes of maize, enough to meet national grain requirements for the country.
In his Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review recently, Minister Chinamasa said more than 310 000 hectares of land had been identified, of which over 105 000 hectares is irrigable land, while over 204 000 hectares is dry land.
Under the programme, farmers have been signing performance contracts, initially for three consecutive growing seasons, commencing with the 2016/17 summer season, and will receive support covering seed maize, fertilisers and tillage services.
This programme will cost approximately $516 million for the initial three years.
Minister Patrick Chinamasa