Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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$300m needed for inputs, silos’ refurbishment

$300m needed for inputs, silos’ refurbishment

Herald Reporter—

More than $300 million is required to fund mobilisation of this year’s summer inputs and the refurbishment of silos at the Grain Marketing Board, legislators heard yesterday. This comes as legislators have called for a national dialogue to determine whether the country should embrace genetically modified organisms as Members of Parliament called on the Government not to be rigid on the issue.

Secretary for Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Mr Ringson Chitsiko said $252 million was required for grain input programme for this summer while $51 million was required to refurbish the grain silos.

He said the $51 million for silos would come as a loan from the Government of China, while Treasury had to provide for the $252 million for inputs to benefit AI model, and communal farmers.

Mr Chitsiko was giving oral evidence before a joint sitting of the portfolio committee on agriculture and the Senate thematic committee on Millennium Development Goals.

The money for inputs to be disbursed in packs would cover for all forms of grains, fertiliser, cotton and livestock farmers.

Treasury, said Mr Chitsiko was still to finalise the mobilisation of the resources and would have wanted the inputs to be distributed early so that farmers would know their deficit.

Matabeleland North Senator Thokozile Mathuthu, wanted to know what guarantee was there that the money would be available from Treasury.

“I think I would not be able to give an answer to that. I cannot assure this committee as to whether this money will be available as we all rely on Treasury,” said Mr Chitsiko.

Lobengula MP, Dr Sam Sipepa-Nkomo (MDC-T), queried the cost of the $51 million loan to repair grain silos saying the money was too much.

This was after Mr Chitsiko said the money would be released after Government first deposited $7 million and about $2 million of commitment and establishment fee and that the agreement provided for repayment of $13 million a year.

Mr Chitsiko said he agreed with the observation on cost but there was nowhere else they could secure that money to do such an important national project.

On the need for national dialogue, committee chairperson and Mbire MP Cde David Butau (Zanu-PF), said it was important to have that.

Dr Sipepa-Nkomo said it was not necessary for Government to remain rigid particularly on the need to consider GMOs.

This was after Mr Chitsiko said those countries that had embraced GMOs like South Africa were already regretting doing so.


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