Govt avails in­puts for 2016/17 farm­ing sea­son

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Tendai Mu­gabe

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

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