By John Nhandara
Government says it is targeting to produce three million metric tonnes of maize, with nearly two million hectares set to be put under maize production this summer cropping season.
Sixty per cent of inputs under the Presidential Input Schemes such as Pfumvudza/Intwasa have so far been distributed to farmers countrywide, as government forges ahead in putting in place mechanisms to ensure food security in the country.
Riding on a successful winter wheat cropping season where nearly 80 000 hectares were put under wheat, government is convinced the set target of three million metric tonnes of maize this summer cropping season, as well as a target of 265 million kilogrammes of tobacco, is achievable.
Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Minister, Dr Anxious Masuka made the revelations on the sidelines of the National Champion Farmer Awards held in Harare this Friday.
“[Regarding] the Presidential Input schemes, the Pfumvudza Intwasa, we have moved 60 per cent of the inputs already. The total hectarage for maize is 1.94 million hectares to produce a record three million metric tonnes. We are also hoping to produce a record tobacco crop of 265 million kilogrammes and a record traditional grains crop of 500 thousand metric tonnes,” he said.
Farmers are optimistic that the set targets are achievable if inputs are distributed timeously.
Mr Paul Zacharia, the Zimbabwe Farmers Union executive director said, “We need to make sure that the farmers receive inputs in time for the smallholder sector. Farmers are actually receiving their inputs and we have witnessed that in the Midlands where they have already received support. We also need to ensure the self-financing farmers are catered for because this is where we have some issues with inputs prices some costing beyond the means of our farmers.”
The Second Republic is targeting to attain a US$8,2 billion agriculture economy by 2025.
Meanwhile, twenty distinguished young farmers received awards for excelling in various agricultural value chains such as sugar cane production, piggery, cotton and horticulture.