FARMERS at Antelope Irrigation Scheme in Matobo district have been affected by the shortage of fertiliser which is likely to see the reduction of yields.
Speaking to Southern Eye in Kezi on Friday, farmers said the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depot did not distribute the fertilizer in the district this farming season. The farmers said only villagers in the deep rural areas managed to receive the little fertilizer that was distributed by the government. Some farmers who could not afford fertiliser on their own did not plant this season.
“We did not get fertiliser from the local GMB depot this season,” Sitshengisiwe Sibindi who planted maize in November last year said.
“We are hoping that we get fertiliser soon because it’s cheaper here at the local depot than in Bulawayo. The harvest will be determined by whether or not we get fertilizer.”
Sibindi who divided her 1,5 hectare portion of land under maize and butternut said some farmers had given up because of the unavailability of fertiliser.
“As you can see there are some portions with grass because the owners did not plant. They could not raise money to buy fertiliser so they just gave up,” she said.
Another farmer who declined to be identified said she had to buy fertiliser from Bulawayo.
“It’s hard, but we organised and bought fertilizer from Bulawayo because there is no other way. Many are trying their best to plant but there are challenges,” she said.
Southern Eye caught up with Austin Ndlovu who was harvesting his maize and he added his voice over challenges caused by the shortage of fertiliser.
“The people who got fertiliser are those deep in the rural areas,” Ndlovu who used the dry planting method in September, said.
“Usually I get about four tonnes of maize with all the inputs, but this time the yield is likely to be down because of the unavailability of fertiliser. In Bulawayo fertiliser is selling for $41, but here it’s cheaper when we buy from the local depot.”
Champion Ndlovu (20) who helps his brother in the vegetable garden had a different story to tell saying they were not facing any problems.
“People come from Maphisa, Kezi shopping centres and Mbembeswana to buy the vegetables for resale that we sell $1 per bunch. They come mostly in the morning and the business is good,” Ndlovu said. Meanwhile, cattle buyers who were cashing on the lack of grazing pastures, buying villagers’ livestock for a song, have disappeared after the good rains received so far.
“The rains delayed coming and most cattle are still thin, but the good thing is none are dying now. The buyers do not come as much as they did during the drought,” Sibindi said.
Austin Ndlovu also concurred with Sibindi saying when the situation improved, the buyers all, but disappeared.