Scrapping farming inputs causes outcry

The decision by the government to scrap free farming inputs and relief food aid has caused an outcry among farmers and villagers in areas where hunger and starvation continue to tighten their grip despite this year’s heavy rains.

In a sudden shift of policy, the government announced that it won’t be giving free fertiliser, pesticides and seed to farmers. It also announced that it will stop giving relief food aid to the people with effect from this month, arguing that the country is poised for a bumper harvest and nearly all families will have enough food to feed themselves.

Farrmers’ organisations have reacted angrily to the move and farmers have attacked the government for the decision.

Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union Masvingo manager Cephas Chimwanda said the move would negatively affect production.

He said smallholder farmers in rural parts of the country had been relying on the free farming inputs for years because they did not have enough income to buy these themselves.

Said Chimwanda: “We are not happy with this move because this means production is going to drop significantly. The most affected is the ordinary farmer who is unable to buy the required inputs, and we are calling on government to reverse its decision.”

In Chiredzi and Mwenezi, where floods destroyed the entire crops, villagers have attacked the government for scrapping relief food aid. They say they have been left with nothing to eat and that thousands across the country will starve unless the government thinks again.

Chief Simon Masivamele of Chiredzi said the government’s decision to scrap aid was inhuman.

“The government should be responsible and help its citizens during times of disaster. We are appealing to the government to reverse its decision because the move is inhuman,” said Masivamele.

Obert Munongo of Chief Nemauzhe’s area in Chivi said thousands of people in the district were facing serious food shortages. Children and the elderly would be especially at risk.

Agriculture and Irrigation development deputy minister Davies Marapira said farmers should learn to buy their own inputs, hence the decision to scrap the distribution of free farming inputs.

“Farming is a business and, therefore, even communal farmers should learn to do business properly,” said Marapira.

Power and energy development minister Dzikamai Mavhaire recently told villagers in Masvingo near Bondolfi Mission that cabinet has resolved to stop giving aid to starving villagers.

Mavhaire said cabinet had noted that the country had received enough rain and so every household should have enough food to eat.

Agriculture and irrigation development minister Joseph Made said the country was poised for a bumper harvest.

Post published in: News

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