Inputs shortage cripples potato growers

A critical shortage of fertiliser and potato seed has affected potato farming in Umguza commercial farming area in Matabeleland North. Potato farmers told The Zimbabwean this week that they have been struggling to grow the crop because of lack of inputs.

“Since last month, I have been looking for potato seed in Bulawayo, but it can only be secured in Nyanga in Manicaland province. We are now trying to organise into groups and pool our resources together to buy the seed from there. We are afraid we might miss the August 1 potato planting deadline,” said Noel Thandeke, a potato farmer in the area.

“It costs about $5 000 to plant a hectare of potato crop. Banks are not in a position to assist us with such kind of money,” he said.

Another farmer, Godfrey Moyo, complained about the theft of potatoes and other produce. “Last year, I lost half my potato crop to thieves. Most of the culprits are former employees who have got inside knowledge of the farms,” said Thandeke. He also said that unfair competition from South African cheap potato imports is forcing the farmers to dispose of their crops at unprofitable prices.

Post published in: Agriculture

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