Umzingwane farmers bemoan lack of agricultural products outlets

Source: Umzingwane farmers bemoan lack of agricultural products outlets | Sunday News (local news)

Judith PhiriBusiness Reporter 

FARMERS in Umzingwane District, Matabeleland South Province, have bemoaned lack of agricultural products outlets close to them, stating that they were parting with a lot of money travelling to get agricultural inputs they need. 

In an interview on the sidelines of the Umzingwane District Agricultural and Trade Expo at Esigodini Agricultural College on Thursday, a farmer from Nswazi village, Mr Mthulisi Ndlovu said lack of agricultural products outlets in Esigodini was affecting their production. 

Agriculture products

“The shops around here do not have everything and we have to travel to as far as Bulawayo to get some of the things that we need such as inputs and drugs for our livestock. One time I had run out of the drug I administer when my cows have diarrhoea and with the little money that I had on me I ended up travelling to Bulawayo. 

“This affects our production as when there is an emergency you have to use the little that you have to travel, while if we had these big brands opening outlets here it would save us a lot,” said Mr Ndlovu. 

He said the same was the case with some inputs and crop chemicals as most seed houses would send their agents at certain times to the villages, hence their products would not always be readily available. 

Another farmer, Mrs Sicelo Siziba said they were being affected in various projects they were doing such as poultry and rabbits keeping, among others. 

“Access to stock feed is a challenge at times and having to travel costs us a lot. You would realise that by the time you sell your chickens or rabbits what you get after selling is much less than what you would have used also considering the cost of travelling long distances to get stock feed,” said Mrs Siziba. 

She said the cost they incurred by travelling long distances would sometimes continuously increase as the inputs and stock feed prices would also be going up. 

“You might find out that when go to get your feed today, let’s say at about $25 000 a 50kg bag of broiler concentrate, the following week when you go the price would have changed. 

“If you would have gone without extra money it means going back without buying what you need and that’s a cost incurred.” 

Umzingwane constituency Member of Parliament (MP) Brigadier General (Retired) Levi Mayihlome  called on seed houses to work together with the AFC Commercial Bank to invest in outlets that would be close by for farmers. 

Retired Brig-General Levi Mayihlome

“Seed houses together with the AFC Commercial Bank should consider investing and bringing facilities close by for the benefit of farmers. 

“We need outlets here so that farmers cut down on travelling costs to go and get seeds in Bulawayo, while if facilities are availed to them here in Esigodini it would be easier for them,” said Rtd Brig Gen Mayihlome. 

He commended private voluntary organisations for the great work they continued to render to farmers and urged farmers to develop further the projects they would have been assisted to start rather letting they die a natural death. 

Rtd Brig Gen Mayihlome said his wish was to see a green Umzingwane flourishing and contributing to growth of the agriculture sector in the country. 

“There is the Esigodini Agricultural College in this region, utilise it so that farmers take farming as a business. 

“The youth should take recognition of the importance of agriculture and take up various farming projects also making use of a number of contract farming initiatives being availed.” 

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