An official of the Ministry of Lands and Rural Settlement says most farms that were grabbed from white commercial farmers under Zimbabwe’s controversial land reform program are underutilized at a time when the country is struggling to feed the needy.
Speaking at a prize giving ceremony here today in Chinhoyi, Agritex officer Edna Shambare, said the issue of productivity remains a serious challenge in most farms invaded by locals.
Shambare, who was speaking on behalf of Lands Minister, Douglas Mombeshora, said this is a serious cause for concern as Zimbabwe needs diligent farmers that can feed the nation.
He urged farmers to grow cereals, saying most farmers have dumped maize for tobacco.
DuPont Pioneer Zimbabwe Sales Manager, Rinos Mashongera, concurred with Shambare, saying out of the 1.4 million hectares of maize, the country is realising only less than one million tonnes.
Mashongera said the national average yield is 0.2 to 0.8 tonnes per hectare, way below the expected average of about 5 tonnes per hectare.
One of the judges for the Pioneer Price competition, provincial Agronomist Siyena Makaza, said farmers are facing challenges in sending their soil samples for analysis in national laboratories to determine the type of fertilizer needed on their farms for crop production.
About 21 farmers from seven districts scooped prices ranging from fertilisers, maize and motor bikes in this provincial competition designed to promote good farming skills.