According to the latest edition of the Prime Minister’s Newsletter, Tsvangirai was working with line ministries, farmers organisations, multilateral financial institutions such as the World Bank and communities to ensure adequate inputs to farmers.
Communal farmers, the newsletter said, would benefit from a smallholder inputs scheme supported by the Multi Donor Trust Fund through the World Bank, while the Zimbabwe Farmers Union who have received support from the European Union will coordinate support for small scale farmers.
The Ministry of Agriculture would work with commercial banks to fund commercial farmers, and these include A2 farmers.
A planning document from the prime minister’s office, the newsletter reported, projected that over one million rural households would access free seed, fertiliser and expertise in the smallholder inputs scheme funded by donors.
Rural farmers produce the bulk of grain consumed locally hence the priority in offering them free input to jumpstart production after years of poor harvests caused by drought and inputs shortages, the newsletter said.
“In this programme government and donors will provide free seeds, fertiliser and agricultural extension services while communities will plant at least 500 000 hectares of maize and sorghum nationally. The programme is aimed at ensuring food self-sufficiency at household and national level in Zimbabwe from 2009 onwards,” read the planning document.
Under the programme, 630 000 households would receive seed and fertilisers (Compound D and Ammonium Nitrate) and another 370 000 households will get top dressing fertiliser only.
“The goal of the programme is to plant at least 500 000 hectares of maize in the 2009/2010 summer cropping season in Zimbabwe. This means that each small scale farmer should plant at least 0,5 hectares.
With the seed, fertiliser and extension support, government anticipates that each farmer will get a harvest of at least one tonne/0,5Ha of maize or 20 bags if there is normal rainfall as has been predicted,” the document said. “This means that if there is good rainfall, we will harvest at least 100 000 tonnes of maize. This will be adequate to ensure both household and national food security.”
Beneficiaries of the inputs would be selected by their community’s management committees. –– Staff Writer.