Farming season preps worry unions


AGRICULTURAL production is likely to decline this season due to poor preparations characterised by a shortage of inputs and working capital, farmers’ unions have said.


The unions said the run-up to the summer cropping season has been marred by limited capital to buy inputs.

“It’s a crisis and disaster because there is no capital,” Commercial Farmers’ Union president Charles Taffs told Southern Eye Business.

“Banks are not forthcoming and because of that we will see tobacco and cotton production shrinking this season.”

Taffs said the government should re-establish the value chain to achieve a target of 2,2 million tonnes for maize. He said billions of dollars were needed to revive the agricultural sector.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union president Wonder Chabikwa bemoaned the lack of capital and poor preparations for the 2014 to 2015 farming season.

“The percentage of preparation is still very low, especially for our staple food (maize),” he said.

“We are lagging behind and this has been caused by the fact that the government has not yet paid farmers who delivered their maize in August.”

Chabikwa urged farmers to use double D Compound fertilizer because it is cheaper.

The agricultural industry requires at least $2,5 billion to guarantee a successful 2014/2015 season.

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has said the government is mobilising about $252,3 million for the 2014/15 agricultural season.

Presenting the 2014 Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review Statement, Chinamasa said each communal and A1 household would be given 50kg of Compound D and 50kg of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, as well as 50kg of lime and 10kg maize seed pack from the money being mobilised by the government.

Farmers’ unions have indicated that to achieve the 2,2 million tonnes on two million hectares, the government should have already started moving the $184,8 million worth of inputs to the 1,6 million communal, old resettlement, former small-scale purchase areas and A1 households.

To achieve the two million hectares, $600 million is required.