Livingstone Marufu Business Reporter
GOVERNMENT will distribute inputs worth $334 million for the 2017 /2018 command programmes to ensure all farmers under the scheme get inputs on time, a senior Government official has said.
The success of the Command Agriculture is not only anchored on better financial preparations and good rains, but also comprehensive monitoring and evaluation by teams drawn from different Government agencies at national level.
These teams closely monitored utilisation of inputs and farming activities with a view to ensuring the success of the programme in terms of yields and capacity for loan repayments.
Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development (Crop Production) Deputy Minister Davison Marapira told The Herald Business that many banks and financial institutions have mobilised enough money to kick start the season.
“Banks in partnership with the Government have mobilised a total of $334 million for the 2017 /18 agricultural season under the ‘Command’ wheat, ‘Command’ livestock, ‘Command’ fisheries and ‘Command’ wildlife programmes.
“All the funds extended to beneficiaries under the Command Agriculture scheme are, therefore, being accounted for and audited under the Command Agriculture Fund approved by Parliament for that purpose and administered by the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, with recoveries maintained by Agribank.
“Building on the experiences of the first phase of the Programme, preparations for the 2017 /18 agriculture season have already begun, with mobilisation of financial resources, procurement of seeds, fertilisers and chemicals underway.”
The command programmes will be complemented by the Presidential Input Scheme valued at $153,1 million to cater for about 1,8 million rural households.
Under the programme, cotton will be supported to the tune of $60 million, catering for 400 000 households with grain production taking up $52,9 million, and the $80 million will be extended to oilseed crops such as soya beans.
Government expects inputs for the Presidential Well-Wishers Agricultural Inputs Scheme and Command Agriculture to be delivered to all farmers in Zimbabwe by September 30.
This will give our farmers enough time to plan. Registration for 2017-2018 Command Agriculture has already started with some farmers already getting some inputs. Farmers participating in Command Agriculture are advised to go to their district and provincial Agritex officers to register.
The country’s yields improved to 2,14 million tonnes of maize from just above 500 000 tonnes last year, while average yield per hectare improved to 1,15 tonnes per hectare from 0,44 tonnes.