Food, stock feed, oilseed self-sufficiency top government priority list
Nevanji Munyaradzi Chiondegwa
The coming summer season will see government distribute farming inputs to match the agro-ecological zones with the intention to achieve food, stock-feed and oilseed self-sufficiency from a total of 3 950 283 hectares, a Cabinet Minister has said.
This was said by the Acting Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Dr Sekai Nzenza during a post-Cabinet media briefing in Harare yesterday.
“Government advises that inputs are being distributed to match agro-ecological zones’ requirements. Inputs distribution, registration, mobilisation and training of farmers are in progress. Planting has commenced in some areas, and concerns over the prices of inputs, especially fertiliser, are being looked into,” said Minister Nzenza.
The decision to adopt the plan presented Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Anxious Jongwe Masuka comes in the wake of current rains being received in the country in almost all ecological regions. Therefore all agro-ecological zones are increasingly expected to receive normal to above-normal rainfall during the period November to December 2022 and January 2023.
Minister Nzenza continued;
“The objective for the 2022/2023 Summer Production Season remains to achieve food, stock feed and oilseed self-sufficiency from a total of 3 950 283 hectares output, which are expected to yield a total of 4 928 260 metric tonnes for all crops.”
The major sources of funds for the production of the major crops are the Presidential Inputs Support scheme under the Climate Proofed Agriculture (Pfumvudza/Intwasa) Programme, the National Enhanced Agricultural Productivity Scheme (NEAPS), Agricultural Rural Development Authority (ARDA), the private sector, and self-financing.
NEAPS, which comprises of CBZ Agro Yield and AFC Holdings makes up about 23% of the financing, and it is therefore critical that the programme is adequately capitalized. The AFC Scheme is targeting a total out of 357 000 metric tonnes of maize, soya beans, sunflower and traditional grains from 65 000 hectares.
She said that the Grain Marketing Board is simultaneously receiving and distributing Pfumvudza/Intwasa inputs to farmers, with a target to have completed distribution by 30 November, 2022.
To date, 54% of the maize seed has been received by GMB depots of which 68% has been distributed to beneficiaries, while 47% of the received traditional grain seed has been distributed.
Seventy nine percent of the basal and top-dressing fertilisers received so far has been distributed while adequate transport arrangements for movement of all inputs to wards has been put in place.
There is a total of 4 610 636 Pfumvudza/Intwasa plots that have been prepared countrywide, a significant increase from last season’s 2 304 417 Pfumvudza/Intwasa plots. Meanwhile 2 707 064 farmers have been trained, compared to 2 071 627 during the previous season. Fifteen thousand three hundred and twenty nine Farmers’ Field Schools have been established.
Turning to corruption in the distribution of inputs, Dr Nzenza said, “Incidents of corruption and violence at input distribution points are under investigation. The composition of Distribution Committees has been expanded and security enhanced at the centres to curtail such practices and the public is urged to quickly report any incidents they may come across to authorities in their area.”
For the 2022/2023 season, the total targeted area to be planted under cereals stands at 13 907 hectares for maize, 270 hectares for sorghum and 147 hectares for pearl millet. Distribution of cotton inputs is underway, with 540 000 households targeted for support under the Cotton Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme.
The area planted under tobacco has marginally increased to 29 805 hectares, compared to 28 648 hectares during the 2021/2022 season. Target output for the current season is 236 million kilograms up from 212 million kilograms last year. Meanwhile, ARDA has planted 12 539 hectares out of the targeted 50 000 hectares.
Turning to livestock, Dr Nzenza said, “Regarding livestock, the nation is informed that a total of 261 435 chickens and 3 332 goats have been distributed under the Presidential Rural Poultry and Goat schemes, respectively. In terms of water supply, a total of 368 boreholes have been drilled under the Presidential Borehole Drilling Programme across the country.”