Sharon Shayanewako and Edgar Vhera
THE Government has set in motion public and private sector engagements to actualise its projections of three million tonnes of maize for the 2022/23 season, thanks to a combined hectarage of 1 940 969 being planted by all players.
This comes as the Second Republic has made food and nutrition security a top priority and is working towards attaining an US$8, 2 billion agriculture industry by 2023, underpinned by the country’s National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) – the key driver towards the Vision 2030 objective of making Zimbabwe a prosperous and empowered upper-middle income society.
Government programmes such as Pfumvudza/Intwasa, the National Enhanced Agriculture Productivity Scheme (NEAPS), private sector and Agriculture and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) are set to enhance maize production this season.
In the weekly report dated November 24, Agricultural and Rural Development Advisory Services (ARDAS) chief director Professor Obert Jiri said the national target for maize this season was 1 940 969ha.
Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) farms are expected to put 17 278ha under maize with private sector, National Enhanced Agriculture Productivity Scheme (NEAPS) and Pfumvudza/Intwasa following suit on 32 175ha, 205 000ha and 367 924ha respectively.
Prof Jiri added that processing of loans for farmers who are financed under NEAPS (formerly Command Agriculture) was in full swing, with AFC Land and Development bank and CBZ Agro-yield as major sponsors this season.
Prof Jiri said NEAPS would be funded partly through AFC and partly through CBZ backed by Government performance guarantees for the contracted farmers through Treasury.
The country requires 2, 2 million tonnes of maize for both human and livestock consumption with the three-million tonnes meant to position Zimbabwe as a significant grain player in the region.
In the report it was revealed that on seeds, all the eight rural provinces had received 10 416 tonnes of maize seed against a target of 14 868 tonnes, representing 70 percent.
Masvingo province had received the largest share of their maize seed requirement at 90 percent, followed by Manicaland and Matabeleland South provinces at 80 and 79 percent respectively.
For all the eight rural provinces, 8 254 tonnes of maize seed had been distributed representing 79 percent of maize seed received to date. Mashonaland Central province accounted for the largest share of the distributed inputs having disbursed 95 percent of their seed intake, followed by Mashonaland West at 93 and Manicaland at 77 percent.
In terms of planting, the report further showed that a total of 33 604 ha of land had been put under maize for the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme, while ARDA and self-financed farmers had 5 948 and 56 041 hectares respectively bringing it to 95 593ha. A comparison of last year’s figure of 33 119ha to 95 593ha planted to maize this year reflects a 189 percent increase.