Govt to stop free inputs

via Govt to stop free inputs | The Zimbabwean by Regerai Tukutuku & Farai Mabeza 20.11.13

The government will, from next year, stop giving farmers free fertiliser and seed – a scheme that it says has been abused by traditional leaders and top civil servants.

The deputy minister of agriculture and mechanisation, Davies Marapira, made the announcement while talking to dairy farmers in Masvingo.

The move could affect thousands of resettled farmers and communal land-owners who, since the early 2000s, have been given fertiliser and maize seed by the government in an attempt to improve production.

Instead of doling out free inputs, Marapira said the government would subsidise them by paying seed and fertiliser-producing companies as a way of making them affordable to the farmers, the majority of whom struggle to buy them.

“All farmers should know that it is not compulsory for government to give them free farming inputs. You were given land freely and now you come back asking for more (farmland) in order to abuse the free inputs facility,” said Marapira, who reminded farmers that taxpayers’ money paid for their free seed and fertiliser.

Joseph Made, the agriculture minister, said government would still give farmers free inputs for the current farming season, but Marapira has ordered political and traditional leaders not to take part in distribution.

The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and local communities will distribute the inputs to needy farmers to promote transparency, said Marapira.

There are reports of rampant abuse of the inputs scheme, with traditional leaders and Zanu (PF) officials being accused of using their positions to take the fertiliser and seed for their own use, at the expense of other farmers and opposition supporters in particular.

Farmers have complained that GMB officials collaborate with the traditional and political leaders to exclude them. Zanu (PF) has also been accused of using free inputs to buy votes during election time.

Omen Muza, a local banker and consultant in agricultural financing, told The Zimbabwean that the distribution of free inputs had not helped boost production but instead had created dependency.

“The intended stoppage of free inputs is a good idea. Looking at the experiences of the past few years, the inputs don’t seem to have translated into tangible production. Most of the inputs end up for sale on the black market,” said Muza. “The programme has instead created a negative culture among the farmers who now think they can only rely on handouts.”

The president of the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union, Wonder Chabikwa, called for subsidised seed, fertiliser and other chemicals.

Vince Musewe, an economic analyst, said some of the farmers who had moved to profitable tobacco were still scrambling for free inputs, even though they could have saved to buy on their own.

“Tobacco pays well and most of the farmers have not handled that kind of money before. They spent the money on useless things instead of saving for the future. They should receive only 50 per cent of the money on the auction floors, with the rest being put into a fund to pay for inputs,” he told The Zimbabwean.



  • comment-avatar
    Doris 8 years ago

    By all accounts, the farmers have been handed property on a silver platter will everything in place. After 13 years of ‘farming’ surely they should be independent by now? Get the useless ones off the land for Gods sake and lets grow some sustainable crops for a change. We need food.

  • comment-avatar
    Sibangilizwe Lethube 8 years ago


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    Mr Mixed Race 8 years ago

    I am so happy that the officials have listened to my numerous comments on these agricultural free inputs to be completely stopped.Well done government officials for seeing sense at last, give that money to the really needy not these lazy and corrupt new farmers.Wait and watch as the economy gets worse and worse more steps will be taken against corruption and looting.You cannot cheat forever in this life.

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    masvukupete 8 years ago

    However we are a few Billion dollars in the red. The delay in “seeing” the simple fact that inputs have to be properly managed has cost the country almost $2 billion. That is the cost of incompetency.

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    Boss MyAss 8 years ago

    The budget process was already three months behind schedule and within days of his appointment he left for two weeks of intense discussions and meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in Washington DC. The list of things demanding his attention was long and all of it urgent. Revenues flowing into the Consolidated Revenue Fund had slipped to well below forecast and he was faced within days of the problem of how to pay salaries.Zanuu PF fiscal delinquency over the previous 34 years had left Biti with a $13 billion pile of debt and 15 years of arrears in debt payments to creditors, there was no capacity to borrow to fill gaps in the cash flow and no one, not even the Chinese were interested in giving the country any assistance without tights strings attached. On top of that Biti had negotiated a “Staff Monitored Programme” (SMP) with the IMF and got it agreed by the Cabinet and, perhaps more importantly, signed by President Mugabe.In effect the new Minister found himself zipped into a straight jacket that left very little room for discretion or change. His discussions in Washington went very well and his consistent message that the new government would respect the undertakings already given under the SMP and in previous exchanges with the multilaterals was well received, but his appeals for help to meet recurrent costs was met with a solid stone wall. Until we complied with the SMP over an extended period and demonstrated more than just verbal undertakings, the only available money would be political in character and these doors were closed to us by the failure of the GPA process.

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    George 8 years ago

    Ask not what what Zimbabwe can do for you, but what you can do for Zimbabwe-JFK