176 000 Farmers to Benefit From Input Scheme
Posted: Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Herald
October 10, 2009

The European Commission has revealed it will provide 25 percent of all fertilizer and cereal crop seed requirements for communal farmers for the 2009/10 summer cropping season.

The inputs were bought from local companies and are already being dispatched to various districts countrywide.

Speaking at a stakeholders meeting in Harare yesterday, Ambassador and head of the EC delegation in Zimbabwe, Mr Xavier Marchal, said this was part of a massive worldwide EC food facility worth one billion Euros, which was adopted at the end of last year.

"In response to the Short Term Emergency Recovery Programme (STERP) and the preparation for the coming cropping season, this grant will contribute to boost Zimbabwe's preparedness with mobilisation of agricultural inputs such as seeds, fertilizers and extension support to small scale farmers.

"The programme is expected to support 176 000 farmers in natural regions II, III and IV," Mr Marchal said.

Production costs in these areas are comparable to current import parity prices or below.

"With good rains, timely implementation and effective co-ordination, yields and production could easily double, further reducing production costs and contribute to making Zimbabwe self sufficient in staple grain production," he said.

Under the scheme, each household will receive 15 kgs maize seed and three 50kg bags of fertiliser, 5 kgs of small grain seed and one bag of fertiliser to the farmers in dry regions.

Most of the input provision is being done under the Food Agricultural Organisation (FAO), with EC acting on behalf of the European Union.

Mr Marchal said the EC was supporting rural populations to improve livelihood security including health, water, basic education, social services and this was being done through non governmental organisations, United nations agencies and Government level.

Inputs distribution would be complemented by well co-ordinated extension services provided by a range of implementing partners and Government to promote good farming practices.

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