Farmers pool resources

Communal farmers here have pooled their financial resources to pay for inputs provided under the government-sponsored agriculture inputs scheme.

The government provided subsidised inputs through the Grain Marketing Board

in the form of maize seed, fertilizer Compounds ‘D’ and top dressing for a total of $43, including transport. A 50 kg packet of fertilizer cost $15, compared to the average $30 on the open market.

“Since cash was hard to come by among the rural communities, farmers decided

to form buying syndicates and contributed whatever they could afford towards buying of the inputs. Later, they would share the inputs according to cash contributions made. At the end of the day each farmer would at least have something to work the field with,” said a government extension worker.

When the contributions are made, a local councillor and the extension worker

is accompanied by someone from the traditional leadership to collect the inputs from at the nearest GMB deport.

“This time there was some transparency regarding distribution of the inputs as we were yet to receive complaints from members of the farming community. The transparency could be partly attributed to the involvement of elected councillors from both Zanu (PF) and MDC around rural constituencies. The cash up front factor could also have discouraged Zanu (PF) from grabbing the inputs as they usually did,” said the government worker.

Targeted farmers complained that the prices were still too high.

“The inputs scheme could best be described as a carrot – so near yet so far as the asking price was far beyond the reach of many,” said a local farmer.

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