via Low yields irk Government | The Herald July 6, 2015
Government has expressed concern over low agricultural yields that has made it difficult to compete in international markets.
Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Deputy Minister Paddy Zhanda told senators last Thursday that Government could not subsidise farmers before production.
He was responding to questions from Senators during a questions without notice session in the Upper House on why Government did not subsidise maize farming.
“What we lack is the efficiency of production; our yields are very poor. We are yielding 0.85 tonnes per hectare and we are putting 1.4 million hectares on maize alone,” he said.
“Let me refer you back to 1995/1996, this country produced 2.6 million tonnes of maize and 1.6 million tonnes of that maize came from communal farmers before even the land reform, at an average yield of nearly 2 tonnes per hectare with one extension officer per every ward.
“Now, we are putting 1.8 million hectares and we are producing 0.85 tonnes a hectare. This year it is 0.03 tonnes per hectare. That is highly unsustainable; highly inefficient that will cause untold suffering which is unbearable on the value chain,” he said.
“What we need to address is the issue of productivity, anything that you do in agriculture without productivity, you are not going to survive. Some other people are producing 15-17 tonnes per hectare while others are producing one tonne,” he said.