Govt clears fertiliser, seed companies’ debt

via Govt clears fertiliser, seed companies’ debt Sunday, 03 November 2013 by Faith Mhandu SundayMail

Government has cleared its debt to fertiliser and seed companies, in a move that is set to boost the country’s preparations for the 2013/14 summer cropping season. Agriculture Mechanisation and Irrigation Deputy Minister responsible for crops and irrigation Cde Davis Marapira disclosed that Treasury recently availed US$161 million for use in clearing of the debt, the payment of farmers for grain delivered to the Grain Marketing Board as well as the acquisition of inputs.

“Government has so far released US$161 million and that money has been put to good use. We have cleared our debt with fertiliser companies, purchased inputs which we are currently distributing as well avail US$9,7 million to the GMB for the payment of farmers.

“From what the new Government is doing, it is evident that agriculture was being dragged by other people who were in the inclusive Government. These elements clearly wanted to sabotage the land reform programme,” he said.

Cde Marapira added that input distribution is continuing across the country.

“Every district has so far received at least 1 000 units of 10-kilogram bags of seed and 500 units of fertiliser and we will continue to supply more.

“The main reason why fertiliser distribution seems to be slow is because it is bulky, however, Government is hoping to complete the distribution of inputs as soon as possible,” he said.

Meanwhile farmers have hailed the latest move by Government describing it as a massive boost to the agricultural sector.

Zimbabwe Farmers Union second voice president Mr Berean Mukwende said it was now the duty of farmers to utilise to full capacity what they were given by the Government.

“We are grateful for Government’s support through inputs. However, I encourage my fellow farmers to utilise what our Government has given efficiently by growing maize as a way of appreciation,” said Mr Mukwende.

“Let it be every farmer’s obligation to plant at least one hectare of maize to prove the success of the land reform programme in support of the new Government which we voted for.”