Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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2015 Agric season: Preps on course

2015 Agric season: Preps on course

Maize-FieldGolden Sibanda Senior Business Reporter
FINANCE and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa yesterday said preparations for the 2015 farming season were on course with $30,9 million paid out to settle outstanding obligations to enable input suppliers to prepare for the current season.

Minister Chinamasa said Government was running ahead of time, having announced a $252 million Presidential inputs programme when he presented the 2014 mid-term policy review. The scheme will benefit 1,6 million families into small grains, cotton and livestock production.

“Mr Speaker Sir, with regards to this input support programme, resource mobilisation efforts are currently underway,” Minister Chinamasa said presenting the Budget in Parliament.

Already, a total of $10 million has been raised through Budget support, triggering procurement and distribution of inputs through Grain Marketing Board depots countrywide.

Minister Chinamasa said with the payment of $30 million to settle liabilities from last year’s inputs programme, suppliers should be able to ensure input availability for this season.

He said that with distribution of inputs having already started, the inputs support programme will be implemented timely. The US$10 million facilitated procurement of 774,8 tons of maize seed, 299 tonnes of sorghum seed and 8 138 tonnes of basal fertiliser,” he said.

Minister Chinamasa said mobilisation of additional resources under the Presidential Inputs Scheme was being made through various arrangements, and will be done in tranches.

The Finance Minister said overall inputs availability in the country indicates a marginal deficit, with the assurances that this will be met from the local production as well as imports.

Financing arrangements for other farmers for this season have also been put in place, with a number of banking sector and other partners’ agro-financing schemes being implemented.

Overall agricultural production targets to put 2.25 million hectares under crop and support livestock at an estimated cost of US$1.72 billion, with $1, 3 billion set for crop production.

Government facilitation of mobilisation of resources by financial institutions saw Treasury granting features that make banking sector agro-financing instruments attractive to investors.

Minister Chinamasa said the banking sector had so far mobilised US$1,093 billion for farmers to access working capital under various credit schemes to support the farmers countrywide. The minister pointed out that the bulk of the $1,093 billion from the banking sector farmer support facilities were for private sector led contract farming initiatives with A2 farmers.

Minister Chinamasa said as at November 25 2014, contract farming arrangements for 2014-15 arranged through the Agricultural Marketing Authority totalled $21,4 million, covering 12 075 hectares for maize, 6 224 hectares for soya beans and 31 680 hectares for cotton.

However, he said the participation of the banking sector in funding agriculture should be buttressed by a robust recovery system which guarantees that beneficiary farmers pay back.

In this regard, the minister said the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe was developing arrangements for the reintroduction of the Stop Order System with the support of the Reserve Bank, Ministry of Finance, and Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development.


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