The Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU) on Thursday said farmers are facing a difficult cropping season due to lack of funds after the Grain Marketing Board failed to pay for grain that they delivered.ZCFU president Wonder Chabikwa told New Ziana that farmers were facing difficulties preparing for the cropping season as they did not have funds to buy agricultural inputs.
“About half of our farming community have not been paid the deliveries from last season by the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) although the government had assured us that we will have the money by December 31, 2014,” he said.
“If the Government cannot stick to its pledges and commitments then it will be a tough season for us,” he said.
Mr Chabikwa said there was however still time for farmers to plant since the season started late.
He said agricultural production had improved in the past few seasons.
“In terms of food crops last year we made a very big improvement almost one and half times improvement and in tobacco we had a record crop recording 260 million kilograms of tobacco whilst intake for maize at the GMB increased ten times.
“We however did not do well in soya bean and cotton production due to producer prices,” he said
Mr Chabikwa said farmers were expecting the economy to turnaround this year for the sector to improve.
“We hope the economy boosts and there is foreign investment,” he said.
The rains this year came late although the Meteorological Department has forecast normal to above normal rainfall throughout the cropping season with few areas experiencing dry spells towards the end of the season. – New Ziana