Agriculture

Presidential Inputs Scheme assist Farmers with summer cropping season preparations for 2021/2022.

Chen Williams  

Zimbabwe’s agriculture sector has commenced preparations for the summer cropping season which is now in motion throughout the country as some farmers have received inputs under the Presidential Inputs Scheme.

The Meteorological Services Department (MSD) stated Zimbabwe is forecast to receive normal to above normal rains in the October-November-December period as well in the last half of the 2021 -2022 cropping season – January – February – March (2022).

Farmers in Matabeleland are some of the recipients and are quite optimistic about the forecasts of good rains with above average expected over the bulk of the Sadc region and according to Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa, preparations for the summer cropping season are now at an essential point as all inputs including seed and fertiliser are now obtainable.

Inputs supply contracts between CBZ and Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) Seeds, Syngenta and Torcek, are said to be in the process of being finalised and Minister Mutsvangwa stated that under the CBZ Agro-Yield/Command Agriculture Programme, there are currently 18 000 tonnes and 15 000 tonnes of basal and top-dressing fertilisers ready for the summer cropping season.

According to Matabeleland North provincial agronomist Ms Zenzele Ndlovu they have already started sending lists of farmers to GMB for input distribution and farmers in districts such as Tsholotsho, Binga, Nkayi and parts of Lupane have started receiving inputs for the cropping season.

“Preparations for the summer cropping season have started in all our seven districts and inputs are already on the ground. Everything is on course and we hope the distribution of inputs by GMB will gain momentum next week,” Ms Ndlovu stated.

She highlighted that farmers are receiving 10kg maize seed, 50kg of Compound D fertiliser, 5kg groundnut, 5kg soya bean, 50kg basal and top-dressing fertiliser, 5kg sorghum, 2kg pearl millet and chemicals for fall armyworm.

The president of Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union Dr Shadreck Makombe reviewed that they are ready for the 2021/22 agricultural season as farmers across the country have begun land preparations such as ploughing and making Pfumvudza holes.

“We are faced with the onset of the rains and most farmers have started preparing the land and they are ready for the summer cropping season. In fact, what is exciting is that preparations this year have surpassed the previous years,” Dr Makombe stated.

However he raised concerns pertaining to how some shops are selling inputs either in foreign currency or local currency using parallel market rates.

“Unfortunately, we are having challenges in that we sell our produce in local currency but when you want to recapitalize you are charged in US dollars. If it was the auction rate, we wouldn’t be having qualms but unfortunately, we are being charged using the parallel market rates.

“We are therefore appealing to Government to intervene because that is affecting our preparations. Fertilizer, which was going for US$24 is now US$36 dollars but the producer prices are the same,” he stated.

Farmers were also warned by experts to efficiently prepare for fertilizers as heavy rains could cause leaching and disturb other agronomic activities, to be alert of extreme conditions such as dry spells during the season and an early end to the major rains similar to the last season.

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