Inadequate funding, late rains blamed

Zimbabwe’s agriculture sector would this season not grow by 12 percent due to limited financial support availed to farmers and the late onset of rains, an official said.

The growth projection, pronounced by Finance Minister Tendai Biti during presentation of the US$4 billion 2012 budget was ‘predicated on anticipated normal rains and the availability of agricultural inputs in the local market.’

Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) Executive Director Paul Zakariya said contracting firms, hamstrung by the prevailing liquidity crunch, failed to mobilise resources required to fund production of cash crops such as tobacco and cotton.

He said without sufficient capital investment into the sector, crop hectarage would continue to diminish and in turn lead to reduced yields and earnings.

“Owing to insufficient funding availed to agriculture and other factors, the viability of the sector is now compromised.

“As a result, we will certainly not be able to achieve the 12 percent growth projection,” said Zakariya

With a staggering US$2 billion required to adequately fund each agricultural season, Government has only availed support schemes worth a paltry US$226 million during this cropping period.

Efforts to raise US$100 million through the Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) this season failed to yield expected results.

To worsen the bleak situation, prospects of normal rains faded amidst the dry spell that persisted between November and the first half of December.

Post published in: Agriculture

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