732 000 farmers receive inputs

MORE than 732 000 households have received seed under the Climate-Proofed Presidential Inputs Scheme as the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) intensifies distribution of inputs ahead of the November 15 deadline by which all beneficiaries should have received their allocations.

Two million households will benefit from the Scheme, which is the flagship of the Agriculture Recovery Plan that seeks to achieve national food security and eliminate maize imports.

Authorities are burning the midnight oil to meet the deadline, with GMB now operating during weekends to speed up distribution.

Under the Presidential Inputs Scheme, communal farmers receive seed, fertiliser and fall armyworm pesticide.

In an interview with The Sunday Mail, GMB general manager Mr Rocky Mutenha said Treasury had released funds to speed up inputs distribution from the parastatal’s depots to ward collection centres.

“GMB got money to transport inputs from the depot to the wards,” said Mr Mutenha.

“We have engaged transporters at depot level and they are busy moving the inputs. We have a target to distribute all inputs by November 15, 2020.

To achieve that we are working every day including weekends.

“The distribution will accelerate with the availability of money for transport.

“Suppliers are still delivering inputs to various depots.”

Mr Mutenha said to date, 732 000 households had received 3 656 tonnes of seed.

He said 532 371 farmers had received 26 169 tonnes of basal fertilisers while 131 703 households got 6 600 tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate fertiliser.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president Mr Shadreck Makombe urged the GMB to further speed up distribution ahead of the commencement of the rainy season.

Mr Makombe said GMB needs to distribute all inputs at once in order for farmers to prepare adequately.

“We are urging them to speed up operations because we are already in the farming season so we do not want to fall back.

“Whatever they are doing in terms of transportation should be done diligently.

“We would want the GMB to take an all-inclusive approach in distributing inputs because we do not want a situation where a farmer for example gets the basal first without the seed,” he said.

Last week, Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Anxious Masuka told The Sunday Mail that the level of preparedness for the forthcoming season was unprecedented.

The Presidential Inputs Scheme is set to boost agriculture production and ensure food self-sufficiency and export surpluses.

Over 1,8 million farmers have received training through the Pfumvudza Conservation Agriculture Programme under which they will practice climate-proofed agriculture underpinned by support from agriculture extension workers.

Beneficiaries are expected to have three plots; one for maize, another for traditional crops and another for oil seeds.

Over 1,5 million hectares have been set aside for cropping with a target of over 3.6 million tonnes of maize.

Zimbabwe is forecast to receive between normal to above normal rainfall with some provinces having already experienced the start of the rainy season.

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