Tobacco to drive agric recovery

tobacco_bokaHARARE - The agriculture sector appears to be emerging from the intensive care unit after a decade characterised by political unrest, drought, shortage of inputs and fuel, a declining economy, unreliable electricity for winter farming and absence of collateral for farmers to access loans. (

Some analysts, however, say the sectors full recovery remains fragile and will depend on political and economic stability, reliable electricity, availability of inputs, cheap loans for farmers and favourable rains.

Zimbabwe Farmers Union president Silas Hungwe said agriculture production had improved a lot in Zimbabwe.

He said: It was important for farmers to build on last years encouraging output as all major sectors of the economys revival largely depend on agriculture. Compared to previous years the amount of hectarage planted is encouraging. There is no support for the small grains, but government is making subsidised fertiliser available to farmers.

This years growth is expected to be driven by tobacco, which is expected to reach 177 million kg from 123 million kg.

Agricultural Marketing Authority director Basil Nyabadza said Zimbabwe needed a comprehensive and sustainable solution that would ensure agricultural production was re-invigorated sustainability.

New farmers should be able to apply to the land bank for soft loans to finance purchase of farms and loans to begin or continue agricultural production on an agreed cost recovery scheme with the financier, he said.

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