Zimbabwe faces worst season

ZIMBABWE, once a regional breadbasket, is facing its worst agricultural season since Independence in 1980, with shortages of seed, fertiliser and equipment threatening next year’s harvest before it even has been planted, farmers and other

experts said.


Some of those warnings were issued in testimony before parliament’s agriculture committee on Wednesday.


Fertiliser companies said their warehouses were empty.


The Zimbabwe Seed Traders Association said there were only 28 660 tonnes of corn seed in the country – slightly more than half of what was needed.


The Agricultural Dealers and Manufacturers’ Association has run out of plough disks for the first time in its history. There also are key shortages of irrigation piping, pumps, pesticides and other chemicals, suppliers said.


“The information you have given us simply shows that there is no season,” committee chairman Walter Mzembi was quoted as saying.


The seizure of thousands of white-owned commercial farms for redistribution to black Zimbabweans, on top of years of drought, has crippled Zimbabwe’s agriculture-based economy.


About four million people will need food aid before the next harvest, UN estimates indicate.


“This coming season’s production prospects are the worst since 1980 due to inputs shortages and the lack of a strong message to allow all farmers to produce with confidence,” Doug Taylor-Freeme, president of the Commercial Farmers Union, said on Wednesday. – AP.