Farmers to get inputs early
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.