Zimbabwe plans to start distributing inputs under the Smart Agriculture Scheme and Presidential Input Support Scheme next month to ensure they reach about two million beneficiaries, Business Times can report.
Usually, farmers receive inputs between October and November.
“We have carried out a number of meetings with the farmers in the area to finalise the paperwork so that the input distribution can begin next month (September),” Goromonzi Agritex officer Isaac Muzambi told Business Times.
He added: “These meetings are not only peculiar to Goromonzi but the nationwide exercise which is meant to improve food security in the country.”
The government’s interventions will also include a fairly wide cloud seeding programme designed to improve rainfall during the dry spells following expert forecasts of inconsistent rainfall patterns for Southern Africa in 2021/2022.
Muzambi said the conservative method will help farmers without irrigation schemes to preserve moisture in the holes.
Government plans to drill boreholes in strategic A1 and communal farming areas.
This comes as the bulk of the local beneficiaries of the government’s various irrigation schemes have received agricultural equipment.
Following the previous season’s drought, the government is planning to expand irrigable land to 500 000 hectares from the current 300 000 hectares.
Another Agritex officer who preferred anonymity said land preparations have begun in various areas with the government providing fuel and tractors.
“Since some farmers are yet to till their land, farmers in the nearby areas can access District Development Fund tractors with some farmers already utilising the pfumvudza concept,” the officer said.
“In terms of other inputs distribution, the government is planning to distribute all inputs under the schemes by September 30 to help our farmers with quick planning ahead of the new agriculture season.”
The early distribution of inputs reflects the country’s commitment in supporting farmers to increase food production.
The government wants farmers to utilise the first effective rains to get the best possible yields. Government has already set aside funds to secure fertilisers for the forthcoming season.
Agritex officers are already on the ground to train and enhance farmers’ technical skills to achieve desired output per hectare.
Authorities are pushing for farmers to attain a yield of five tonnes per hectare which will enable Zimbabwe to achieve two million tonnes yearly.
Smallholder farmers will get input packages of 10kg maize seed, 5kg sorghum seed, 50kg basal fertiliser, and 50 kg of Ammonium Nitrate.
They are also going to get 10kg of soya beans, sugar beans, and cowpeas to address the nutritional shortages at the household level.ng skills