|Umguza farmers call for credit scheme|
|Saturday, 14 July 2012 18:38|
FARMERS in Umguza area, Matabeleland North region, have called upon the Government to revive the input credit scheme as it emerged that most of them failed to plant wheat this winter season due to lack of money to buy seed and fertilisers.
In an interview at Vunda Farm, Mrs Sithokozile Dube a farmer, said banks were not forthcoming in releasing loans hence a number of farmers in the area did not plant the crop.
“We are appealing to the relevant authorities to bring back the input credit scheme and come to our rescue because we are facing serious challenges of acquiring seed and fertilisers. We are not asking for handouts but we can only pay back after harvesting," she said.
Mrs Dube said acquiring seed was expensive for the farmers as they have to travel to Harare where there are high yielding varieties hence costs of transportation and time factor were affecting them.
“As you can see around this area only a few farmers managed to plant wheat, the rest are now depending on horticultural products which are not that profitable as compared to wheat,” she said.
According to Agritex records only 225 hectares of wheat have been planted in the Matabeleland North region.
Another farmer Mr Joseph Dube from Umguza Extension Lot said they were also facing problems as they are not irrigating at full capacity hence not producing adequately.
“We need a reservoir to be built in our area so that there can be water supply to the dry lands. We have identified a place where it can be built and we applied to the Ministry of Lands so we are awaiting their response,” said Mr Dube.
Other farmers in the area bemoaned the price of fertilisers which they said were exorbitant and called upon proper gazetting of prices instead of ripping off farmers.
According to the farmers, a 50kg bag of fertiliser which is supposed to sell at US$15 was now going for between US$34 and $38.
“How can the price of fertiliser go up yet the price at which we sell our produce to them is still the same? It is just not fair,” said one farmer who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Irrigation farming is vital in Matabeleland as the region receives low rainfall.