Elita Chikwati Senior Agriculture Reporter
Farmers have commended Government for the early distribution of inputs, saying this will improve their preparedness and ensure early planting.
The farmers implored Government to ensure farmers access adequate packages of inputs.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president Mr Shadreck Makombe said it was commendable that farmers had started taking delivery of inputs early.
“Inputs distribution has started and there has been an improvement in the distribution process when comparing to the previous years,” he said.
“This shows readiness for the farming season. Farmers are getting information on the process of inputs distribution.”
Mr Makombe said farmers under Command Agriculture who had their irrigation facilities assessed had also started receiving inputs.
“Some farmers are still processing applications and contractors are visible on the ground,” he said.
“It appears everyone is keen on doing something. Prices (of seed in supermarkets) have remained high and the uptake is low. This will be a loss on either side as the retailers will also not get profits.”
Zimbabwe Farmers Union director Mr Paul Zakariya said distribution of inputs to large scale commercial farmers was in progress.
“The distribution is being done using the voucher system which is the best and ensure the process is smooth,” he said.
“We were consulted as the ZFU and we made our contributions to the process.
“The good thing is that inputs are being distributed before the rains and by the time farmers get the first effective rains, they will plant early.”
Mr Zakariya said farmers who were not on schemes were experiencing challenges procuring inputs as prices had continued to rise.
“It is those farmers that are self-financing that are still facing challenges,” he said.
“Inputs prices have continued to soar. These farmers, if not assisted, may end up downsizing. The irrigated tobacco is already in production.
“Although significant numbers of tobacco farmers are covered under contract arrangements, those growing free tobacco will need to be assisted both in terms of inputs as well as working capital.
“Dry land tobacco seedbeds are getting ready for transplanting. It is our hope that our farmers will be in time for the rains. For planned schemes, it is now very critical for inputs to be delivered such that with the first effective rains, planting may begin.”
Zimbabwe Indigenous Women Farmers Association Trust president Mrs Depinah Nkomo confirmed that farmers had started receiving inputs under the Presidential Inputs Scheme.