Despite complaints by Buhera Central legislator Ronald Muderedzwa that the government was letting down farmers by delay the distribution of inputs, the government has once again announced that it will distribute inputs at the end of October and in early November.
The Deputy Minister of Agriculture Davis Marapira said the government had set aside $28 million for inputs to about 300 000 small scale-farmers for the 2015-2016 season.
“We are expecting distribution of the inputs to start by the end of October to early November,” Marapira told The Herald.
Muderedzwa told Parliament last month that inputs should be distributed in September and October if the country wanted to revive agriculture which is key to turning around the country’s fortunes.
“It is not good enough to provide farmers with inputs in November, December or January because that season will have elapsed. I am urging the hon. Minister to say this time around, let it be planned such that the farmers get inputs much earlier, September or October is ideal not the trend that we have gone through for the last period,” he said.
Central Bank governor John Mangudya said only 2 000 serious farmers each farming 100 hectares could feed the nation.
He said the main problem Zimbabwe’s agriculture was facing was poor planning and the reliance on free inputs from the government.
“The way business is being run in Zimbabwe is bad. We don’t have entrepreneurs but workers; entrepreneurs plan before the rain season but in the country we have farmers who wait for government freebies,” he said.
Even the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union argued that farmers should buy their own inputs because this enhances commitment. Government should, however, subsidise the inputs.
“The spirit of buying is good because it also enhances the commitment that the farmers attach to their farming activities. However, we also appeal to Government to subsidise these inputs because current prices are beyond the reach of many farmers,” ZCFU president Wonder Chabikwa said.