Government has secured $423 million to support the 2016/2017 agricultural season while negotiations are currently underway for a further $500 million, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa has said.“For the 2016/2017 agricultural season we are putting our money where our mouth is,” said Minister Chinamasa while launching the Zimbabwe Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper yesterday.
The purpose of the I-PRSP is to enhance Government efforts in fighting poverty and to ensure inclusive growth, guided by the country’s national development plan, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation.
“Already Government secured more than $423 million towards supporting the 2016/2017 agricultural season and the objective is to be self-sufficient in food security in the event that the heavens smile on us and give us normal rains this season,” he said.
Minister Chinamasa noted that agriculture remains the anchor of poverty reduction and is a common outcome throughout many consultations that were undertaken by Government.
In support of the revival of agricultural production, Government adopted a Special Maize Production Programme targeting 400 000 hectares of land for the forth-coming season expected to produce at least two million tonnes of maize, enough to meet national grain requirements for the country.
In his Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review, Minister Chinamasa said more than 310 000 hectares of land had been identified, of which over 105 000 hectares is irrigable land, while over 204 000 hectares is dry land.
Under the programme, farmers have been signing performance contracts, initially for three consecutive growing seasons, commencing with the 2016/17 summer season, and will receive support covering maize seed, fertilisers and tillage.
This programme will cost approximately $516 million for the initial three years, and key expenditures relate to inputs and labour, including harvesting costs, land preparation and transport expenses.
Several initiatives being implemented by Government come at a time when this year’s estimated maize grain harvest of 511 816 tonnes is falling short of the normal national grain requirement of 2,2 million tonnes.
However, Government interventions to provide for the national maize grain deficit of 1,7 million tonnes are being complemented by private sector and development partners.