Sunday Mail Reporters
Agriculture inputs to small holder farmers under the Presidential inputs scheme programme have been dispatched to Grain Marketing Board depots around the country and the distribution will commence soon.
Delivery to all beneficiaries should be completed this October, which will be a record time, as traditionally inputs for such schemes were distributed in November or December.
The Government is pulling all the stops to guarantee another bumper agriculture season, with the early supply of inputs expected to ensure that farmers are prepared in time.
This year, the Pfumvudza programme will support five plots per household up from three last season with 2,3 million households targeted up from 1,8 million who benefited last season.
The Government is also adopting a three-pronged approach of monitoring and evaluation which will see officials inspecting plots before planting, when planting and during harvest.
Authorities are targeting to distribute 8 000 tonnes of seed, 400 000 tonnes of conventional chemicals, 600 000 litres of pyrethroids, 100 000 litres of Acaricides and 60 000kg of Aphicides.
In an interview with The Sunday Mail, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement deputy minister Vangelis Haritatos said planting is expected to begin in November.
“We are very well prepared this year in terms of Pfumvudza. Our GMB depots are starting to receive inputs very early.
“The rains are going to be normal to above normal this year, so what is really required is planting early. Under the Presidential scheme we have great support, we expect the Pfumvudza plots to start getting ready now, we expect our farmers to have holed up and prepared mulching.
“In the coming week (this week), the Minister and his deputies will be touring all the provinces to see if farmers are prepared to receive inputs. We are embarking on a three-pronged approach, which will consist of pre-planting, planting and harvesting inspections.”
In the 2020/2021 summer cropping season, Zimbabwe harvested 2,7 million tonnes of maize, which was a record yield.
Deputy Minister Haritatos said the country is expecting to surpass last season’s record harvest.
“We have just come from a beautiful season of over 2,7 tonnes and we expect to surpass that should the rains be good. The training of our farmers and Agritex officers is ongoing. So we have fulfilled what we needed to do. What needs to be done is distributing the inputs”.
He said the Presidential Inputs Support Scheme has been extended to other sectors such as livestock production.
“Not everyone is into cropping, others will venture into livestock and horticulture so the Presidential support scheme has been extended to other sub sectors within agriculture.
“We’re now looking at about 35 000 villages, each village will have one borehole drilled and this means essentially 35 000 boreholes in the next few years to help farmers venturing into horticulture or livestock production.”
Under the National Enhanced Agriculture productive scheme, the Agriculture Finance Corporation
Holdings and CBZ Bank will support 5 000 highly productive farmers through loans backed by the Government performance guarantees.
In an interview, Zimbabwe Farmers Union director Mr Paul Zakariya commended the Government for extending all the agriculture support schemes.
“We can guarantee that where the Government has put in a scheme, farmers will produce and this can be given testimony by last year’s Pfumvudza where farmers produced a bumper harvest.
“This year we are grateful to the Government that all schemes have been extended and we assure you the land will be put to good use.”
In a presentation at the Zimbabwe Agricultural Show a fortnight ago, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga said all agriculture schemes will be expanded this year.
“The Presidential input scheme will target vulnerable households in commercial, A1, small-scale and old resettlement sectors for cereals, oil seeds and legumes.
“A total of 280 000 hectares of land will be subjected to maize growing through the Presidential inputs scheme, targeting a yield of 1 480 000 tonnes of maize.
“We continue to applaud private partnerships, as they are instrumental in building resilience in the agricultural sector,” he said.