Early roll-out of 2017/18 inputs

Farmers will access inputs for 2017-2018 summer cropping from September to guarantee optimum output under the Presidential Well-Wishers Agricultural Inputs Scheme and Command Agriculture.

Source: Early roll-out of 2017/18 inputs | The Sunday Mail August 13, 2017

Livingstone Marufu

Though both programmes have been highly successful with 500 000 tonnes already delivered to the Grain Marketing Board, inputs distribution delays hampered maximum yields last season.

Some farmers had fertilisers and seed late in the season.

Now, authorities want to close such gaps to sustain momentum, and President Mugabe said as much at the sixth Presidential Youth Interface in Gwanda yesterday.

Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Deputy Minister Davis Marapira said last week the State was hard at work on 2017-2018 preparations.

“The ministry expects inputs for the Presidential Well-Wishers Agricultural Inputs Scheme and Command Agriculture to be delivered to all farmers in Zimbabwe by September 30. This will give our farmers enough time to plan efficiently.

“The same applies to such inputs as lime, which should be given to farmers in time so that they can incorporate them into the soils. Registration for 2017-2018 Command Agriculture has already started. We encourage all the farmers who are participating in Command Agriculture to go to their district and provincial Agritex officers to register.

“Agritex officers are working closely with Command Agriculture officers to ensure the programme is timely. Command Agriculture teams are already on the ground, making sure inputs and all logistics are rolled out properly.”

Deputy Minister Marapira added: “We are happy that our yields improved to 2,14 million tonnes of maize from just above 500 000 tonnes, while our average yield per hectare improved to 1,15 tonnes per hectare from 0,44 tonnes.

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

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union president Mr Wonder Chabikwa weighed in: “Command Agriculture took off 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 Agriculture in place, many people will be employed and industry will immensely benefit.”