via Poor harvest projected despite good rains 03/03/2014 by Moses Chibaya NewZimbabwe
DESPITE normal to above rainfalls that the country received during the 2013-2014 farming season, Zimbabwe is likely to experience another poor harvest as government dismally failed to support small holder farmers that it intended to support.
Giving oral evidence before the thematic committee on Gender and Development the secretary for Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Ringson Chitsiko said government could not adequately support small holder farmers.
“We intended to supply 81,000 metric tonnes of compound D but only 47 percent of that was availed to the farmers. This came to 37,755 metric tonnes. We wanted to distribute 80,000 tonnes of top dressing but only 43 percent of that was made available,” Chitsiko told the committee.
Experts say the unavailability or high cost of agricultural inputs such as seeds and fertilizers apart from adverse weather, decrease in acreage, poor agricultural practices and the type of crops being grown, is contributing to hunger in Zimbabwe.
Although gains have been registered in crops such as tobacco, Zimbabwe remains a net-food importer. Production in the 2012-13 season is projected to have fallen to 789,000 tonnes, and the government has spent $60 million importing grain from Zambia.
Chitsiko said government was disbursing a 10 kg bag of maize seed or a 5kg bag of sorghum seed or a five kg millet seed, a 50 kg bag of basal fertilizer, a 50 kg bag of ammonium nitrate.
He said other households who did not benefit from the above package got a 10 kg bag of cow peas, a two kg bag of finger millet and a ten kg bag of sugar beans.