THE Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) has expressed concern over the rising costs of farming inputs such as seed as farmers prepare for the next summer cropping season.
Farmers require inputs such as seed, fertiliser and chemicals.
Speaking to Business Chronicle last week, ZFU executive director Mr Paul Zakariya said Government intervention was needed now more than ever as the cost of farming inputs have risen to alarming levels in recent weeks.
“Government intervention is needed now more than ever because the level of profiteering among the input suppliers is now alarming. Prices are going up even in US dollars and this is worrisome as famers prepare to go back to the fields,” he said.
A snap survey conducted by this paper in Bulawayo last week, showed that depending on variety, a 10 kilogrammes bag of seed maize ranged between $3 000 and $5 000.
As of last week, retailers in the central business district were selling a 50kg bag of Compound D and Ammonium Nitrate fertilisers at $3 000 and $4 900 respectively.
In light of the rise in inputs cost, Mr Zakariya urged farmers to organise themselves into groups and pool their resources together so that they can buy the inputs collectively and benefit from discounts.
“Under these difficult conditions, we encourage farmers to pool resources together and buy inputs in groups. That way, apart from discounts, farmers will reduce transport costs,” he said.
Government is providing inputs through the Presidential Input Scheme and other such schemes but farmers need to top up these inputs to increase their hectarage under crops.
The Government has announced that inputs under the Presidential scheme programme have already been dispatched to Grain Marketing Board depots around the country and the distribution will be done before the onset of the rains.
It is hoped that delivery to all beneficiaries should be completed by the end of this month,.
Government has said it is working to ensure the country records another bumper harvest this coming season.
In the 2021-2022 cropping season, the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme will support five plots per household up from three last season with 2,3 million households targeted up from 1,8 million who benefited last season.
The Government is also adopting a three-pronged approach of monitoring and evaluation which will see officials inspecting plots before planting, when planting and during harvest.