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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Re-engagement pays off for agriculture sector

Story by Tapiwa Machemedze

Zimbabwe’s multilateral re-engagement efforts are paying off in the agriculture sector, with the African Development Bank (AfDB) providing more than US$25 million to support wheat production this season.

Stakeholders in the agriculture sector expect to consolidate the success of wheat production in the country by producing 408 000 metric tonnes this winter.

“We will be channelling US$8 to US$10 million of that amount to produce about 8 000 hectares, so these are the fruits of the engagement efforts by President Emmerson Mnangagwa. So, funding is there at AFC, grand response to COVID-19, geo-political tensions in Europe,” noted Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Permanent Secretary, Dr John Basera.

Farmers in Mashonaland Central Province welcomed the ongoing efforts by the government to engage them together with key stakeholders such as banks, the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA), Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) as well as input suppliers.  

“It is possible for us to surpass the output we produced last year and we have been helped by seminars like these. It helps us to plan and layout or budgets so that we can get maximum yields,” said an optimistic farmer.

“We are grateful when we are doing something like this with the government so that we can air out our challenges. We have many challenges like the acquisition of inputs and selling of crops,” added another farmer.

Several schemes have been set up this year to ensure wheat hectarage is at 85 000 hectares.

AFC and CBZ banks are poised to finance the production of 35 000 hectares of wheat, while contractors will fund 25 000 hectares.

20 000 hectares of wheat will be funded under the Presidential Inputs Programme, while self-financing farmers will cater for the remaining 5 000 hectares.

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