The Sunday News
Chrispen Gumunyu, Farming Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union (ZCFU) is calling on the Government to consider coming up with a mechanisation programme aimed at capacitating communal farmers to enable them to enhance their production.
ZCFU vice-president, Mr Winston Babbage said communal farmers have over the years been sidelined from benefiting under various Government initiated agricultural mechanisation programmes all of which have been targeted towards capacitating commercial farmers. He said there was a need the Government to come up with a mechanisation programme tailor-made to assist communal farmers so as to improve their productivity.
“We will be meeting officials from the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement today (Friday last week) where we are going to suggest to them to source one and half hose powered hand drawn tractors, which are specifically designed to suit communal farmers.
“These tractors cost about US$1 000 each compared to regular tractors that cost up to about US$30 000 thus it makes sense to capacitate 30 farmers than only one. This will enable farmers that were producing only a tonne of maize from a hectare to produce about eight tonnes per hectare,” said Mr Babbage.
Communal farmers or small-scale farmers have since time immemorial contributed over 80 percent in maize production compared to 20 percent of A2 and large-scale farmers. Maize is the country’s staple food.
“We want rural farmers and subsistence farmers to further scale-up their production to ensure that we are self-sufficient as a country and the only way they can do that is through mechanisation,” said Mr Babbage.
He said the mechanisation of communal farmers would also play an integral role towards ensuring the success of the Beef and Leather Value Chain (BLVC).