Most still dependent on aid

Most farmers resettled on commercial farms under the land “reform” programme have failed to plant crops again this season.

Joseph Made
Joseph Made

A mini survey conducted by this paper has revealed that most resettled farmers rely on food handouts from NGOs. Farmers said they had failed to plant as they did not have enough inputs or expertise.

“I have been trying to do serious farming but I do not have money to buy seed and chemicals, so this season I have decided not to plant anything,” said one resettled farmer.

Others said they were given bad soil and felt that the whole resettlement process was a political gimmick.

“Top Zanu (PF) officials, senior army and police officers and CIOs are the beneficiaries. They grabbed equipment from white farmers and allocated themselves fertile land. They are also at the forefront of distributing inputs and benefited from the farm mechanization programme,” said Herbert Jecha, local farmer.

A few were positive. “I managed to plant my fields with the little resources that I have. I am expecting a good crop. I was lucky to receive some inputs though they were not enough,” said Kenneth Muroiwa who planted 10 hectares of maize.

Joseph Made, the Minister of Agriculture, said an increase in the disbursement of seed maize and fertiliser to farmers might help to increase the hectarage.

“Farmers should continue planting maize and other small grain crops until the end of January,” Made said. “I have noted that the bulk of the crop was planted late and chances are 50-50. However, if the rains continue and if we get fertiliser, chances are that it will be a good crop.” Ministry figures show that 144 427ha of maize has been planted in Manicaland so far, down from last year’s 172 854ha.

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