Zimbabwe's parliamentary agriculture committee says lack of state funding and serious power outages are hampering efforts to boost wheat production amid revelations government is spending millions of dollars on cereal imports for domestic consumption.
Reacting to reports that the government has so far spent almost $27 million this year on wheat imports instead of funding winter wheat production, some members of the committee told Studio 7 that most farmers are not accessing capital to buy the necessary inputs.
Committee member Moses Jiri said Zimbabwe’s failure to release $20 million which was set aside this year for wheat production also indicates that the government wants to import cheap wheat at the expense of local producers.
Indications are that farmers have so far only cultivated 10,000 hectares of wheat instead of the projected 26,000 hectares. The country needs 400,000 tonnes of wheat annually.
Jiri said wheat imports are not even creating jobs in the agriculture sector. “Importing wheat will not solve serious challenges being faced by local farmers,” he said.
Independent economist Rejoice Ngwenya believes that government should stop funding under-performing wheat farmers.