Farmers urged to prepare now: ZCFU, CFU

Zimbabwe should step up its preparations for the 2013/2014 agricultural season to avert yet another disastrous harvest, farmer organisations have warned.

In separate interviews with The Zimbabwean, the organisations said that the level of the country’s preparedness for a successful agricultural season was not impressive.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union President, Wonder Chabikwa, said his organisation was looking forward to a successful 2013/2014 agricultural season but warned that lack of adequate preparations could spell disaster.

“So far, the preparations are not satisfactory. We are also saying that government should give us subsidies in purchasing fertilizers, seeds and herbicides and should ensure that they incentivise farmers to grow food crops” said Chabikwa.

Fertilizer companies have given assurances that they have enough stocks for the 2013/2014 season, but however Chabikwa said the prices were quite high.

“The prices are being pegged from $35 a bag and that is too much considering that most of the farmers are financially incapacitated,” he said.

The President of the Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe, Charles Taffs, predicted yet another bad season for Zimbabwe given the events currently obtaining on the ground.

“There is no money and we have no direction from government as to the agricultural policy. There is no confidence and the farmers themselves do not have adequate finances. So it seems it is going to be worse than the last season,” said Taffs.

“We need a comprehensive agricultural policy which creates confidence and allows people to invest in land and at the same time allowing banks to invest in the land,” he added.

Poor harvests last year left an estimated 1,6 million people in need of food assistance provided by western donors.

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