GMB depots receive farming inputs for 2016/17 season
THE Government has started distributing farming inputs to Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depots around the country ahead of the 2016-2017 farming season.
The Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, responsible for cropping, Davis Marapira, yesterday said preparations were well on course in all parts of the country.
“We’ve already started moving farming inputs to GMB depots in the country and all the preparations are going on well.
“The inputs distribution will be done through various schemes, including the Presidential Inputs Scheme which will also assist a total of 600 families with cotton inputs. Under the Presidential scheme, communal farmers will get one bag of seed maize and one bag of fertiliser so that they have something when the rainy season starts,” said Deputy Minister Marapira.
He said those who had received farming equipment from the Brazilian Food for Africa Scheme will also get inputs from the Government.
“We want to make sure that everybody is incorporated in the inputs scheme so that all farmers contribute to the country’s efforts to achieve maximum food security.
“Those who’ve registered for command agriculture will also receive the inputs that they require for their farming activities,” said Deputy Minister Marapira.
He added that the District Development Fund (DDF) would assist farmers who do not have equipment in preparing their land for the farming season.
Deputy Minister Marapira advised farmers to take advantage of the recent rains by preparing their land.
“Those who received rains recently in their areas shouldn’t start planting now because the rainy season is yet to come. They should instead, use the rains as a chance to prepare their land for the farming season unless they have irrigation,” he said.
The deputy minister, however, expressed concern over Zesa power cuts, saying they were seriously affecting wheat farmers.
“We’re in the process of engaging Zesa so that there’s no disruption of farming activities in all provinces. Most of our wheat farmers have been seriously affected by the power cuts and this obviously reduces our yields,” said Deputy Minister Marapira.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU) Matabeleland North provincial chairman, Mr Winston Babbage, said they were working with Agritex to identify beneficiaries of the free inputs that will be distributed by the Government.
He, however, said seed houses were yet to make available some inputs that are suitable for the Matabeleland region.
“Farmers are bush clearing and the preparations for the farming season are going on well. We’re working with Agritex to make sure that the free inputs are directed to deserving people.
“We’re also lobbying seed houses to make sure that they deliver the inputs that are suitable for the region on time. Farmers are struggling to find the correct inputs,” said Mr Babbage.
He called on the Government to provide funding for farmers to sink boreholes and set up more irrigation schemes.
The Meteorological Services Department on Monday said the rains that were recently received in some parts of the country did not signal the onset of the rainy season.
The department said the country is expected to receive normal to above normal rains during the 2016/2017 season and this is favourable for farming.— @pamelashumba1.