The Sunday News
DISTRIBUTION of inputs to smallholder farmers under the Presidential Input Support Scheme, which targets 640 000 hectares of maize, has begun countrywide.
At least 1,6 million and 350 000 hectares will be put under small grains and cotton respectively. In an interview, Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri said Government targeted more than 300 000 households under the scheme.
“Distribution of Presidential Inputs has started all over the country. You might have witnessed the launch of the scheme in areas such as Mkosa, Mary Mount, Chomutukuku and Chimanda, which means already inputs have started being deployed,” he said.
Minister Shiri said distribution of inputs had also started under the Command Agriculture programme. He said 1,5 million hectares would be allocated to maize countrywide this season, with a target produce of 4,5 million tonnes.
“We are targeting about three tonnes (of maize) per hectare for the national average. We have four banks that have come online to support Command Agriculture; Stanbic, Agribank, CBZ and Women’s Bank. Agribank will be supporting seed houses and fertiliser companies, Women’s Bank (will finance production of) traditional grains, while Stanbic will be supporting contractors; companies which contract farmers to produce certain quantities of grain. The rest of Command Agriculture farmers will get their inputs from CBZ and the registration process and verification is underway.”
Minister Shiri also said the producer price for wheat had been set at $8 612,08 per tonne from $1 089,69 and encouraged farmers to deliver their crop to the Grain Marketing Board.