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Farmers target 1,1m tonnes

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THE Zimbabwe Farmers’ Commercial Union (ZFCU) says it is targeting to produce 1,1 million tonnes of maize in the 2014/15 farming season, Southern Eye Business has established.

MTHANDAZO NYONI
OWN CORRESPONDENT

In an interview with Southern Eye Business yesterday, ZFCU president Wonder Chabikwa said Zimbabwe needs about 2,2 million tonnes of maize a year to cover both humans and livestock, but last season the country only produced 1,4 million tonnes.

“We still need a lot of maize in the country and in the 2014 to 2015 farming season we are targeting to produce 1,1 million tonnes of maize.

“At the moment farmers have started clearing land for the cultivation of maize and cotton. For tobacco, transplanting is in progress,” Chabikwa said.

He said funding was still threatening farmers’ viability and to overcome that, his members had clinched deals with input providers.

“As farmers, we need funding because for a farmer to produce one hectare of maize, he or she needs something like $1 000. 35% of this then goes to purchase inputs like fertilizers,” he added.

The government only allocated $155 million to the Agriculture ministry in the $4,4 billion 2014 national budget which was not adequate to cover farmers’ expectations.

The ministry had requested $490,5 million.

The government recently pegged the maize producer price for the 2014 to 2015 marketing season at $390 per tonne, up from last season’s price of $385.

Zanu PF’s land grab campaign in 2001 saw the most profitable commercial farms in Zimbabwe being seized, often violently, and handed over to party elites and other beneficiaries.

The majority of those properties have since fallen into disuse, and the agricultural growth being lauded as the “success” of the land grab campaign has been witnessed in tobacco, not food.

The situation has left hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans facing food shortages.

The majority of food in the country is imported, while 2,2 million people are in need of food, aid according to the World Food Programme.

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