Friday, December 24, 2010

Zimbabwe Program Extends Credit to Poor Farmers

Credit facility for poor farmers

Friday, 24 December 2010 11:41
Zimbabwe Herald
Agriculture Reporter

GOVERNMENT has allowed poor far-mers qualifying for the US$30 million agriculture input scheme to access the inputs under a credit facility.

Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Jo-seph Made yesterday said with immediate effect, farmers with input vou-chers could now access seed and fertiliser from Grain Marketing Board depots on credit.

The scheme is set to benefit 400 000 underprivileged families while dono-rs are supporting 560 000 families.

President Mugabe has also launched a US$33 million Presidential-Well Wishers Agricultural Scheme set to benefit over 597 000 households.

Minister Made said the decision to supply inputs to farmers on credit was taken to cushion growers who were failing to access the inputs that were being sold on cash basis.

"With immediate effect, farmers can now get inputs on credit and pay with grain at the end of the season," he said.

Previously, farmers had to pay cash for subsidised inputs, but most of them were failing to buy seed and fertiliser due to cash problems.

Minister Made said farmers with vouchers should approach their nea-rest GMB depots to register for the inputs.

The minister said it was disturbing to note that many farmers were fail-ing to access the subsidised inputs despite the fact that they had been brought nearer to them.

"Farmers do not have cash to buy seeds and fertilisers and some are failing to raise US$30 per household for input procurement.

"The Ministry of Finance should have allowed the facility to be taken on a credit basis," he said.

Minister Made said there was no point in keeping stocks of seeds and fertilisers when planting time is advancing "so that is why we are allo-wing farmers with vouchers to get inputs on credit and plant."

Farmers have always been complaining of high input costs and calli-ng for the Government to subsidise all inputs.

"There is nowhere in the world where farmers are self-financing.

"Some farmers are being supported by their children while others are failing to get support from banks," Minister Made complained.

He said the situation could have been better for farmers had the Minister of Finance been supporting the agricultural sector.

"As the Minister of Agriculture, I am not satisfied with the way the industry is being treated.

"There is no support for the land reform programme and Minister of Finance is neglecting agriculture because his masters do not support the land reform programme," he said.

No comments: