GOVERNMENT is facilitating duty-free importation of fertilisers this summer cropping season among other incentives meant to ease the input cost burden on farmers.
President Mnangagwa revealed this yesterday in his State of the Nation Address where he assured farmers of full Government support in ensuring that the 2019/2020 farming season was a success.
“To render inputs more affordable to our farmers, Government is putting in place measures to facilitate the duty-free importation of fertilisers, targeted electricity subsidies and the local manufacturing of fertilisers, including the full exploitation of phosphates from Dorowa,” he said.
The President’s statement comes as a big relief to farmers on the back of widespread outcry over escalating input costs.
Farmers’ unions and agronomists had pleaded for Government’s intervention citing steep pricing of seed, fertiliser, fuel and other critical inputs largely fuelled by the speculative runaway exchange rates on the parallel market.
The farming community had also cried foul over depletion of pastures against expensive stock feed, dipping chemicals and other livestock vaccines.
“Government is currently working on a programme to avail dipping chemicals and improve general animal husbandry practices.
“Research by our institutions of higher and tertiary education towards the local manufacturing of foot and mouth disease vaccines, has begun with the support of Government,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said reviving the agriculture sector was at the centre of the country’s economic road map articulated through Vision 2030, with the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) as the key building block. As such, President Mnangagwa said, revitalising the agriculture sector was paramount.
“Going forward, Government has set aside ZWL$1,8 billion towards the production of strategic crops such as maize, soya beans and cotton.
“Of this amount, ZWL$567,4 million has been allocated for the provision of inputs for vulnerable households and ZWL$332 million to ensure the procurement of inputs for cotton production,” he said.
“A total of ZWL$968 million will augment the ZWL$ 2,8 billion put forward by banks and the private sector to support the Command Agriculture Programme.”
President Mnangagwa said implementation of the irrigation development programme will also be accelerated with a ZWL$60 million facility set aside for the rehabilitation of farming machinery.
“US$51 million has been allocated for the supply of various agricultural machinery from John Deere, some of which are already being delivered.
“Meanwhile, Government will accelerate the consummation of a facility with the Government of Belarus for the importation of tractors, planters and combine harvesters,” he said.