Farm­ers to get in­puts early

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - NEWS - Sun­day Mail Reporter

GOV­ERN­MENT has be­gun pre­par­ing for the 2017/18 sum­mer crop­ping sea­son with in­di­ca­tions farm­ers will re­ceive in­puts by Septem­ber to en­sure am­ple plan­ning time.

Agri­cul­ture, Mech­a­ni­sa­tion and Ir­ri­ga­tion Devel­op­ment (Crop Pro­duc­tion) Deputy Min­is­ter Davis Mara­pira told The Sun­day Mail that, “Prepa­ra­tions for next sea­son are al­ready un­der way with some in­puts al­ready in place … We are tar­get­ing to start giv­ing all (Pres­i­den­tial In­puts Scheme and Com­mand Agri­cul­ture) farm­ers in­puts soon and com­plete the ex­er­cise by the last week of Septem­ber to avoid last year’s sit­u­a­tion of fer­tiliser short­ages around De­cem­ber and Jan­uary.

“We would like to avoid such a sce­nario by all means as some farm­ers couldn’t reach their po­ten­tial due to late de­liv­er­ies of some in­puts in some ar­eas. Po­ten­tial yields will be com­pro­mised with the late ap­pli­ca­tion of fer­tilis­ers there­fore if we dis­trib­ute in­puts in time, it will give the farmer enough time to pre­pare ac­cord­ingly.”

Farm­ers are de­liv­er­ing on their Com­mand Agri­cul­ture con­tracts of sup­ply­ing five tonnes of maize per hectare with some ex­ceed­ing 12t/ha.

GMB is of­fer­ing in­stant pay­ment, af­ter Gov­ern­ment and other stake­hold­ers set aside US$450 mil­lion for grain pur­chases.

Zim­babwe Com­mer­cial Farm­ers Union pres­i­dent Won­der Chabikwa said, “Com­mand Agri­cul­ture tookoff well and ended well last sea­son with many farm­ers oblit­er­at­ing the tar­get of five tonnes per hectare.

“We hope the scheme will con­tinue and re­vive the agri­cul­ture sec­tor for many years to come. With Com­mand in place, many peo­ple will be em­ployed and the in­dus­try will im­mensely ben­e­fit.”

This sea­son’s grain har­vest is en­vis­aged to re­duce Zim­babwe grain im­port bill by US$200 mil­lion.

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