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Zimbabwe Farmers Not Ready for Forthcoming Crop Season

Communal farmers cultivate maize crops in Mvuma district, Masvingo, Zimbabwe, January 26, 2016. In Zimbabwe, farmers have already lost cattle and crops in the severest drought to hit the nation in a quarter of a century.

Most farmers in Mashonaland West say they are ill-prepared for the 2016/2017 agricultural season, noting that some of them have not yet been paid for the produce delivered last year to the state-controlled Grain Marketing Board.

Some of them say they don’t even have agricultural inputs.

One of the farmers, Munashe Mujeri, said most of the farmers do not have funds for the 2016/2017 agricultural season as they were not paid for delivering maize, sorghum and other products to the GMB.

Another farmer, Khlupeko, said some farmers lost their implements to financial institutions for failing to service bank loans.

Zimbabwe Farmers Union president, Abdul Credit Nyathi, added that his organization has appealed for credits in the form of maize seed and fertilizer from companies producing agricultural inputs.

But Mr Mujeri said inputs from such companies are too expensive and make farming business unprofitable.

Nyathi noted that due to climate change his union has embarked on an educational drive urging farmers to plough early and late crops and to cultivate drought-tolerant crops like sorghum and millet.

Khlupeko said unions are not doing enough to protect farmers from unscrupulous financial institutions that are confiscating their farm implements.

Khlupeko said farmers’ organizations should engage the government on reviewing producer prices to cushion farmers from high agricultural input costs.

But farming analysts said for farmers to produce enough to feed the nation government should subsidize inputs like what other countries like Zambia and Malawi are doing.

A 50 kilogram bag of fertiliser that cost $35 in Chinhoyi is selling for $7 in Zambia.

Report on Zimbabwe Farmers Filed By Arthur Chigoriwa
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