Word from the street

The Zimbabwean spoke to people in Harare about the decision to stop free farming inputs. Here are just a few of the responses. “People need those inputs and government should continue giving the rural poor fertilisers and maize seed otherwise we will not have any production. It is government duty to ensure that those in need get such assistance.” – Godwel Moyo

Godwel Moyo
Godwel Moyo

“Extension workers in the various provinces are not doing their jobs properly yet they are on the country’s payroll. Part of their duty should be to assist new farmers with the knowledge on how to get good yields. They should be tasked with making follow-ups on those that receive inputs. They should establish whether the inputs have reached the intended beneficiaries. Stopping the programme is a recipe for disaster because the new farmers are still in their infancy in terms of agricultural output.” – Tonderai Mungwashu

Tonderai Mungwashu
Tonderai Mungwashu

“The national programme has been hijacked by politicians and government officials. It is better off abandoned until there are no loopholes for the manipulation of the programme.” – Pamela Chitehwe

"If you look at most of the resettled farmers, they lack the financial capacity to finance their agricultural activities so they will be the most affected yet the country is pinning hopes on them. Of course, there were issues like abuse of the inputs but still, I think the government should continue with its support to the farmers." – Sheila Mukondwa (28)

"I think the government did its best to assist farmers but the problem is that these farmers would divert the inputs to the black market and they should not cry foul. We can't say agriculture would be affected as such because what these farmers were doing (diverting inputs to black market) was also affecting agriculture." – Simeon Gambanga (31)

"Government support is vital for the growth of the agricultural sector and if they say they are going to withdraw it, that will come with very negative consequences for farming in Zimbabwe. Instead they should put measures to guard against corruption when it comes to distribution of the inputs." – Mildred Shoko (32)

"Government has never been able to adequately fund the agricultural sector and we can't say the sector will be affected because after all, there is nothing much that the government was doing." – Francis Furawo (37)

"You cannot talk of the agricultural sector without talking about government support. Of course corruption might be there but we definitely need the support of the government for the sector to grow." – Edmore Gamadze

Governments do not exist to give people things. Zimbabwe is still a developing country which does not have the capacity to hand out free goods, this can only happen when there are excess funds available. On the other hand people cannot sustain themselves so the people and the government must meet halfway. Government should supply the seed and on other issue such as fertilizer the people must fend for themselves. – Nyasha Mutibvu

This won't make any difference because these schemes have always been problematic. At times the inputs were distributed on partisan lines.

Tozivepi Chimbwanda
Tozivepi Chimbwanda

If you did not belong to a certain political party then you did not get anything. Our parents were denied these inputs because they had children who were employed in towns. So to me this programme was just a source of problems and scrapping won't make any difference Alexander Musindo This is premature. Government actions on this must depend on the harvest. If the season is good then they can do away with the programme but they must assess all people because some are able to source their own inputs and some are not Grace Matinyanya I don't think it's a good idea because this year we imported maize when the people had government support. That means that without that support the situation will get worse. The economy will go down and so will our food security. The other problem is that the Grain Marketing Board is not paying the farmers for their maize so where will they get the money to buy their own inputs.

If the programme was to stay it would need to be relooked into because right now village headmen have become lords over their people using this scheme.

It is abused. People with children in towns or in the diaspora are denied the inputs. – Tozivepi Chimbwanda

It's a challenge for farmers because they don't have cash. The transition period is going to be very difficult but I believe that after a few years farmers will be able to sustain themselves Donald Mwaera The programme should be removed over time and not abruptly to give farmers time to plan.

It also contradicts government's empowerment drive through land redistribution. How will the land empower the people if they don't have the inputs to work with. – Edward Makuzva

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