PREPARATIONS for the 2021/2022 summer cropping season are well on course with farmers having started accessing inputs for what promises to be yet another good cropping season.
The country looks set to surpass the bumper harvest realised this year as most farmers are saying they have adequately prepared for the forthcoming season.
The country recorded a bumper harvest of most crops and this was attributed to good rains throughout the season and farmer support programmes such as the Presidential Input Support Scheme and Pfumvudza/Intwasa.
Government suspended grain imports following the bumper harvest thereby saving the country more than US$300 million which was then channelled to other productive sectors.
Zimbabwe like the rest of the Sadc countries is expected to receive normal to above normal rains this coming cropping season.
In his address during a graduation ceremony at Mlezu College of Agriculture near Kwekwe recently, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement Deputy Minister Vangelis Haritatos said farming inputs are already being distributed to Grain Marketing Board depots across the country and in some areas the inputs have reached the farmers.
“We have already talked to seed and fertiliser companies with the hope that they will increase the stocks by a larger percentage. We have not faced any challenges so far and deliveries to depots are going on well. In some areas distribution to farmers has started which means most farmers will get their inputs before the onset of the rains,” said Deputy Minister Haritatos.
He however said farmers who got inputs under Command Agriculture and have not paid, will not benefit from the inputs scheme.
“Those who owe Government money for Command Agricutlure will not receive inputs this time around and this will certainly affect our programme as Government. We encourage all farmers who owe Government to settle their outstanding balances so that they can benefit from this inputs scheme meant to boost production,” he said.
Deputy Minister Haritatos said Government was working with the private players to boost the availability of farming equipment.
“As you know we have a deficit in our mechanisation equipment and we are in talks with private players as we seek to boost our tractors, combine harvesters and planters among others. We are grateful to Belarus who are also coming in to support us in a big way. Some of the equipment is already on its way to Zimbabwe,” he said.
A total of 33 graduates received diploma certificates with 29 in the merit category, three in the credit and one in the pass category.
The college has a total enrolment of 292 students. The agricultural college apart from crop husbandry, is into poultry, piggery and cattle ranching among other projects.
It is also in talks with GMB and Dairibord as it plans to roll out more projects to widen its horizon.
The institution’s acting principal, Mr Leaphias Nyawha said there was a need to improve security at the college as it was recording increased cases of theft and vandalism.