Every household in the rural areas will get inputs under the Presidential Inputs Scheme so that people take advantage of the current rains to plant their crops and ensure food security, President Mnangagwa has said.
He was speaking at a ceremony to honour First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa’s achievements held in Chiweshe yesterday.
“The rains are upon us, and I want to promise you that your Government is bringing seed through the Presidential Inputs Scheme. If it has not arrived, the Minister of Devolution and Provincial affairs should look into it, that is her job to make sure it gets to everyone. We will continue to make sure that we do that,” he said.
The Presidential Inputs Scheme anchors the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme adopted to address the problems of low productivity and low profitability in the agriculture sector which continue to affect food security.
This year, over three million households are expected to benefit from the scheme and the Government has released $20 billion to support the programme. Under the programme, selected farmers receive a 50kg bag of compound D fertiliser, a 50kg bag of ammonium nitrate, a five kg bag of maize seed and in some instances two kg bag of small grain.
The Pfumvudza/ Intwasa programme aims to ensure farmers would get at least a tonne of maize from their plots, which would carry a family of six throughout the year.
Meanwhile, farmers have now planted more than 906 000 hectares of summer crops for the 2022/23 season with the bulk of the crops in good condition in most parts of the country.
Livestock has also been reported to be in good condition as grazing continue to improve in most areas as a result of the rains currently being received.
Farmers have intensified planning while some who had an early crop are weeding and applying fertilisers.
According to the latest weekly update from the Agricultural Advisory and Rural Development Services AARDS, farmers have so far put 906 479 hectares under crop.
This is an increase from the 419 305 that had been planted during the same period last year.
The report states that by December 19, farmers had put 595 417 ha under maize compared to 284 303ha same period last year.
Do far 8 970 ha have been planted to soyabean compared to 5 339ha last year and 65 931 ha have been put under sorghum compared to 14 916 same period last year.
There has been an increase in the area pout under sunflower, from 777ha last year to 1371ha. The area under cotton has also increased from 18 920 ha last season to 90 971 while 85 870ha have been put under tobacco compared to 78 654ha.
The report also states that the bulk of the maize crop was still at vulnerable vegetative stage.
“Early warning systems indicate African Armyworm: no reports of outbreaks in the week under review and Earless than 24 moth catches. No breeding of quelea birds has been
Farmers countrywide are also being trained on Weed management on the advantages of early planting, maize and small grain varieties, soil fertility management, horticulture production, record keeping, herbicide and pesticide use and pest management in cotton among other things.
Zimbabwe Indigenous Women Farmers Trust president Mrs Depinah Nkomo said farmers were taking advantage of the prevailing moisture conditions to intensify planting.
“Farmers are busy planting different crops. So far the crop is looking good. We also appreciate Government’s commitment to assist the majority of farmers with inputs. Mots smallholder farmers now rely on the Presidential Inputs scheme,” she said.
Mrs Nkomo also said most farmers were also considering traditional crops because of favourable returns.
“I encourage most women to grow traditional grains as they perform better than maize even under drought. They are also fetch viable prices on the market. We are also assured of household food and nutrition security if we grow the traditional crops,” she said.
Farmer, Mr Edward Dune said distribution of inputs started on time, adding that a huge progress had been made by farmers in planting.
“We are happy that inputs got to the farmers early this year. The costs of inputs have skyrocketed and had it not been for Government inputs, many would not have planted early,” he said.
Recently, Zimbabwe Commercial Famers Union (ZCFU) president, Dr Shadreck Makombe said farmers were working hard and also diversifying to traditional crops because of their high demand on the market and the awareness campaigns being carried out on the importance of healthy foods.
“Farmers are also planting traditional crops and people are now health-conscious with some restaurants now even serving traditional foods. Long back, demand for traditional food was low, as the food was perceived to be for the poor,” he said.
Tobacco Farmers Union Trust president, Mr Victor Mariranyika said: “The progress shown by farmers so far in planting is a positive step towards achieving food security. This is greatly appreciated and we can foretell that the season is good and there is a possibility of a bumper harvest if farmers follow good agronomic practices in farming,” he said.