Melinda Ncube, Sunday News Reporter
LOCAL farmers have delivered about 820 000 tonnes of traditional grains to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) this year, and are on course to deliver the highest tonnage of traditional grains since independence.
Speaking in parliament last week, Minister of Land, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate And Rural Resettlement, Dr Anxious Masuka said of the 820 000 that were delivered to the GMB, 75 000 tonnes were of traditional grains that include sorghum, pearl millet and finger millet.
“Farmers have responded to the pricing incentive and they are delivering. In fact, we are almost set to have a record traditional grains delivery.
“The highest delivery of traditional grains since 1980 was 820 000 metric tonnes and by next week, farmers in Zimbabwe will have delivered the highest number of traditional grains to the GMB in the history of the country since independence,” he said.
The Government has also put in place mechanisms to encourage the production of small grains as 2,3 million households embraced Pfumvudza/Intwasa. Under the programme, two plots per household would be for maize on the highveld, which is the higher rainfall agro-ecological zones and in the drier zones, two plots for traditional grains and also for oil seeds.
Various schemes have been put to try and assist the private sector to access financing which includes the productive sector financing window that is available through banks for the private sector.
“Government has even gone further to enrol private sector companies for participation in Government schemes such as the accelerated irrigation development plan and also the mechanisation plan where the private sector is participating.
“We want to tailor our agricultural production so that it suits the agro-ecological zone when the country is becoming drier and we want to put a deliberate policy to promote traditional grains produced in the dry agro-ecological regions.”
The Ministry has also put in a pricing incentive where they are paying 20 percent more for traditional grains.
“Meanwhile, we are working on launching a rural goat pass on scheme, a poultry pass on scheme to ensure that agricultural activities are undertaken in any agro-ecological region that seeks to promote advancing agriculture that is sensitive to those agricultural regions,” he said.