via Matabeleland Farmers Not Receiving State Funded Inputs by Nothando Sibanda VOAZimbabwe
The agricultural input scheme launched by the government last month is yet to reach most areas of Matabeleland, with some only receiving seed and fertiliser as they wait for the promised stock feed meant to help rebuild the cattle herd in the region.
The government last month unveiled a $161 million input scheme to supply small-scale farmers with fertiliser and seed in time for the planting season.
The input scheme is an annual programme but this year the government announced it was adding livestock inputs such as stock feed and drugs for farmers in drought prone regions to help build the cattle herd in the area.
Farmers in Matabeleland, however, say they are yet to receive these inputs, with those that have received some only getting fertiliser and seed. They are still to receive the livestock inputs.
Moffat Ndiweni is a subsistence farmer in Nkayi. He said they are still waiting to receive the livestock inputs which they need if they are going to be able to use their cattle for draught power this planting season.
Another farmer, Mlamuli Sibanda, a farmer in Lupane said while the inputs are welcome, government should also invest in water infrastructure since that is the biggest challenge facing the region.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, Mr. Ringson Chitsiko, said he is aware that most inputs are yet to reach some areas of Matabeleland.
He added that efforts are being made to ensure that they reach intended recipients on time.
Mr. Chitsiko said it is government policy to ensure that citizens produce their own food and not rely on handouts as the country strives towards food security.
Zimbabwean farmers have since 2000 been receiving agricultural inputs, including seed, fertiliser and in some instances, tractors but millions of people in the country continue to depend on food aid.