ZAKA – The Presidential Inputs Support Scheme kicked off early this year to give smallholder farmers enough time to prepare for the 2018/19 agricultural season, the Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Cde Davis Marapira has said.
He said the initiative had nothing to do with vote buying as alleged by some sections in the opposition political parties but was purely a government programme to empower communal farmers countrywide.
He made the remarks while addressing some of the beneficiaries at Muroyi Primary school in Zaka on Wednesday, where he handed over 26 tonnes of maize seed and 120 tonnes of fertilizer to over 3 000 people.
“The programme was officially launched a few weeks ago in Bindura by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Retired Air Chief Marshal Perrance Shiri will benefit over 2 million smallholder farmers countrywide,” said Cde Marapira.
“This early distribution of inputs shows the Government’s commitment to supporting our farmers with important production inputs to stimulate productivity.
“Let me make it very clear, that this is a purely a Governmental programme which should not be mistaken with campaign strategies to lure voters”.
He said agriculture was one of the country’s major economic development drivers.
According to the deputy minister, the agriculture also contributes immensely to employment creation and the supply of key raw material for the manufacturing and related sectors.
“Agricultural productivity is still a challenge in some areas due to a number of reasons among them the non- adherence to good agricultural practices. One of the bad practices is late planting of crops
necessitated by lack of inputs.
“As a Ministry, we decided to address the problem through early distribution of inputs. The scheme is meant to enable smallholder farmers to become food secure, at the same time addressing nutritional
requirements at household level,” said Cde Marapira.
He said the farmers should also register for Command Agriculture to boost agricultural productivity in their respective areas.
He warned the beneficiaries against abusing the implements and that those caught will be dealt with accordingly in line with the dictates of the law.
“We don’t expect to see any of these being sold on the black market.
Government is confident you (farmers) will provide secure and appropriate storage for the seed and fertilisers,” he said.
Zaka District Administrator, Mr Ndeya Nyede commended the Government’s for availing the inputs to the beneficiaries early.