Business

Presidential inputs scheme surpasses target

Dr Basera

Enacy Mapakame 

Business Reporter  

The Presidential Inputs Support Scheme surpassed the 2020/21 target, contributing to the timely start to the season that is anticipated to bring a bumper harvest. 

According to Agriculture Technical and Extension Services (Agritex) acting director Mr Stancilae Tapererwa, Government was targeting 1,8 million households in the country’s eight provinces. But the programme reached two million households, surpassing target by 200 000. 

“People were getting inputs for different crops, some for maize, so we managed to surpass the target,”  he said while responding to questions by stakeholders at a recent virtual meeting on preparedness for the 2020/21 agricultural marketing season with Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement Secretary Dr John Basera. 

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Giving a general outlook for the season, Mr Tapererwa said the country was expecting a good harvest, thanks to the good rainfall season, timely distribution of inputs and increased hectarage planted among other factors. 

Figures from the department show that 1,8 million hectares of land were put under maize compared to 1,5 million hectares in 2019, representing an increase of 17 percent. 

Of this, slightly over 40 percent of the maize crop was planted in November while 49 percent and 10 percent were planted in December and January respectively. 

“The crop condition is good so far. The bulk of the crop was planted in November and December and if we get rains in March then the other 10 percent planted in January will do well as well,” he said. 

For Soya bean, 79 350 hectares were planted which was 136 percent above the prior year’s 33 599 hectares.

Sorghum increased by 5 percent to 322 274 hectares and Mr Tapererwa indicated the crop is in good condition. 

Finger millet however, marginally declined by 3,9 percent to 160 143 hectares compared to 166 429 that was planted in the prior year. 

“We are looking forward to a very good harvest,” said Mr Tapererwa adding that farmers managed to plant on time. 

The country forecasts two million metric tonnes of grain to be delivered to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) with maize constituting 1,8 million tonnes of the total. 

Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) executive director Paul Zakariya acknowledged the efforts by all stakeholders in the sector to ensure increased production this season. 

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“The preparation was good, we started talking to farmers early on various issues like moisture preservation. 

“The inputs also arrived on time for the first time in many years and we planted on time, which was a good thing,” said Mr Zakariya during the same meeting. 

HERALD