PREPARATIONS for the 2013-2014 agricultural season have started on a bad note after the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe (BAZ) indicated financial institutions will not be able to adequately fund the upcoming cropping season.
Speaking at the Agro-Business, food and Nutrition Security Conference in Harare today, BAZ President George Guvamatanga said although the banking sector has increased funding from US$549 million during the 2010-2012 season to US$620 million in the 2013-2014 season, the funds were still not adequate to meet farmers demands.
Although he did not reveal how much was needed, Guvamatanga said a lot of funds were needed in the short, medium and long term to fully revive the sector. He said funding is needed for inputs as well as infrastructural repairs and development.
Guvamatanga also urged government to come up with policies on the distribution of the agricultural fund to enable poverty reduction. The fund is currently heavily favoring the tobacco farmers while marginalising maize farmers, who play a critical role in feeding the nation.
“We have worked with what we have, given the sanctions being faced by the nation therefore the government needs to come up with a sustainable framework. Currently 50% of the fund goes to tobacco, 7.55% to cotton, 4.87% to maize, 6.94% to sugar and 3.5% to horticulture” said Guvamatanga.
Speaking at the same occasion, Vice-President Joice Mujuru said it was everybody’s responsibility to fight poverty and the food crisis gripping the nation.
“We therefore have to adopt policies and develop supporting infrastructure to stimulate growth in the sector so as to retain our status of being the bread basket of the region” she said.'