Martin Kadzere : Senior Business Reporter
THE distribution of agricultural inputs under the Presidential Input Scheme has begun, Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made said. The scheme, which targets about 1,4 million communal farmers and vulnerable families will complement the special Command Agriculture programme under which Government is expected to finance 400 000 hectares of the maize crop this season.Dr Made said the Presidential Input Scheme and Command Agriculture were meant to rebuild grain reserves at both household and national level to achieve food security.
“We have started deliveries of fertiliser to depots of the Grain Marketing Board in Mashonaland West, Central and East. We are now moving to Midlands,” said Dr Made.
The delivered inputs include 6 000 tonnes of compound D and 6 000 tonnes of top dressing.
This dispels speculation that the Government is only supporting farmers under Command Agriculture. Under the Presidential Input Scheme, farmers would be given two bags of fertiliser (compound D and AN) and 10kg of maize seed or 5kg of small grain. The scheme also covers cotton farmers.
“With better rains expected, we shall continue to mobilise the resources for this scheme,” Dr Made said, adding that China had pledged to provide 9 000 tonnes of Urea.
Meanwhile, farmers have delivered 200 000 tonnes of maize to GMB valued at $65 million. Dr Made said the late rains helped farmers to achieve better than expected yields.
The strategic reserve has expanded to 300 000 tonnes, enough to nearly see the country through the next harvest.
“This clearly puts us in a situation where no household out there should go without food until February next year,” said Dr Made.
“While the preparations for the season are satisfactory, they will be a steady supply of food.”
Maize production for this year is expected to reach 511 816 tonnes, against the initial projection of 450 000 tonnes, according to Finance and Economic Development Ministry.