No agricultural inputs this year

HARARE
With the start of the raining season drawing closer,
another agricultural disastrous season is looming due
to the lack of seeds and fertilisers on the market.
Farmers cannot prepare for the season in advance and
start buying these inputs because of failure to
rposuce them


by the local producers affected by
prevailing macro-economic constraints. Alll the seeds
and fertiliser producing companies are operating below
capacity, with some actually doing no production at
all.
The Zimbabwean established that the country’s major
seeds producers Seedco and Pannar are operating below
capacity. “We are opearing below capacity and very
little quantities are being produced here,” an
official from the Seedco plant in Mt Hampden said in a
telephone interview. “It is a combination of factors,
from inputs, to viabiity problems as well as power
cuts affecting us. We are usually operating below 30%
of normal capacity.”
The same situation prevails at fertiliser
manufacturing firms, Zimphos and Windmill which are
affected harder because they rely on chemicals more
than the seeds manufacturers. “The major problem is
the foreign currency problem because we import much of
the chemicals and other inputs we use. There is no
hope at all of being able to meet our production
levels for this season unless the economic situation
drastically improves,” a source from Windmill in
Harare said.
A visit to the Windmill plant in Harare’s industrial
area showed there is reduced production and workers
there say many of them have been laid off during the
past couple of months.
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) (Mutambara)
agricultural expert Renson Gasela has already warned
of another failed agricultural season ahead citing the
serious shortage of inputs as one of the major
contributing factors.
Zimbabwe has been in the throes of trouble
characterised by low yields and starvation since 2000
when the Zanu (PF) regime embarked on violent land
seizures and forcibly took over farms owned by white
farmers, which had been the backbone of the country’s
economy and making it the bread basket of southern
Africa. The past seven years have been dominated by
futile attempts by the government of President Robert
Mugabe to sanitise the chaotic land reform as well as
improve production but in vain.
The country is currently amongst the poorest in the
world and relying on donors as well as imports to feed
its population despite being endowed with some of the
best resources in the world.


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