via Government starts distributing inputs | The Herald November 13, 2015
GOVERNMENT has started distributing farming inputs bought under the Input Support Scheme to assist poor farmers prepare adequately for this cropping season.
Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Deputy Minister (Responsible for Crops) Davis Marapira said Government started distributing the inputs to targeted farmers in the country’s 10 provinces last week. He said the Input Support Scheme, which covered all the country’s 10 provinces, would be funded to the tune of $28 million.
Deputy Minister Marapira said only 300 000 families from last year’s 1,6 million would benefit from this year’s input support scheme as Government strove to increase agricultural productivity by making inputs and implements accessible to communal and smallholder farmers.
He said the inputs had already been moved to all Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depots throughout the country to enable farmers to access them at the most convenient places.
“This year we are looking forward to assisting 300 000 people with farming inputs for the 2015-16 summer cropping season. This year’s programme is not the same as last year’s Presidential Input Support Scheme, but it is targeting underprivileged people and we are working with the social welfare department,” he said.
The inputs were moved to all GMB depots across the country and the distribution started on Monday.
Last year’s programme, which mainly targeted farmers in communal areas as well as small scale farmers, saw farmers getting 10kg bags of maize seed and two 50kg bags of fertiliser. Cotton and soyabeans farmers will get 20kg of fertiliser and 25kg of seed, while farmers in dry areas are receiving small grains.
Deputy Minister Marapira said the inputs would be complemented by $32 million worth of agricultural implements that the country recently received from Brazil under the first phase of Zimbabwe — Brazil More Food for Africa Programme.
He said most of the equipment received included centre pivots that would go a long way in transforming communal irrigation schemes in the wake of predicted below average rainfall expected this year.
Deputy Minister Marapira said the southern part of the country, which had for the past few years, been hard heat by hunger due to perennials dry spells, would be given first preference.
“We have allocated implements and irrigation equipment to areas prone to drought like Matabeleland North and South to mitigate the situation,” he said.
Deputy Minister Marapira said Government started distributing food to areas that were at the brinks of starvation after the country recorded food deficit.
He said Government was targeting 200 000 tonnes of maize to be distributed to targeted beneficiaries before the next harvesting period.
“We have already distributed 10 000 tonnes of maize as food aid,” he said.