Â With a month into the raining season, farms in most parts of the country are lying fallow with no meaningful farming activities having take place.
Â This comes on the back of repeated claims by the government early this year that it is going to help new farmers obtain seed maize ahead of the farming season.
Â The government has labeled this farming season the mother of all farming seasons’ but a survey showed that most seed shops have not had seed maize for almost two months.
Â A worker, in one of the seed shops said the delivery of the seed maize has been erratic for some months, indicating that management was not sure when they would receive it.
Â We are not really sure when the next delivery is coming, but we have not had seed maize in stock for over two or three months, said the worker at a Bulawayo shop.
Â The Zimbabwean learnt that price controls have worsened the situation as seed houses are not willing to import seed maize at a higher cost and be forced sell at government set prices they label as ridiculous..
Â Managers various seed maize houses said they risked incurring huge costs which might choke their businesses if they import seed maize and sell at controlled prices against the importing costs.
Â However, the Minister of Agriculture, Rugare Gumbo when contacted for comment tried to downplay the seed maize shortages, saying the government had released funds for its purchase.Â
At the moment we are doing the best we can to supply the farmers with all the necessary farming inputs especially seed maize to ensure that they start farming, Gumbo said.Â
Zimbabwe has grappled with a food crisis since the chaotic land reform programme in 2000 owing to a combination of drought, shortage of inputs and disturbances on the farms.
Â Zimbabwe, which is in the grips of a biting economic crises, has declared 2007, a drought year after writing off half the country’s crop. The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) have also said the country faces a serious grain deficit this year.
Seed Maize shortages in Zimbabwe
By Tracy Shoko
Zimbabwe is headed for another disastrous farming season owing to acute shortages of seed maize in the country, a survey by The Zimbabwean revealed.