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Report - The State of Preparedness by the Agricultural Sector for
the 2006/7 Summer Crop Season [S.C 23, 2006]
of the Portfolio Committee on Lands, Land Reform, Resettlement and
Second Session – Sixth Parliament, Parliament of Zimbabwe
Presented to Parliament on September 27, 2006
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Your Committee carried out an inquiry into the state of preparedness
of the agricultural sector for the 2006/7 summer crop season. In
this regard the Committee received oral and written evidence from
the three ministers involved in agriculture, NEDPP Taskforce on
Agriculture Coordination, Inputs Supply and Food Security, and Anti-Corruption
Your Committee was informed
that starting this year, government has adopted a policy shift with
regard to the Inputs Support Programme. The A2 farmers will now
be expected to mobilize their own resources and buy inputs on the
open market. Government, your Committee was told, will only assist
A1 and Communal farmers and farmers contracted for targeted production.
In line with the new
policy thrust, the bulk of inputs will be released to the market
through the traditional agro-dealer outlets around the country to
ensure that farmers get the inputs at their door steps as opposed
to the previous situation where farmers were wasting valuable production
time queuing up at GMB depots. Thus your Committee was happy to
learn during its inquiry that the release of seeds to the market
was already underway.
Your Committee was further
informed that the situation regarding seeds this season was very
positive, as Seed Houses had a confirmed stock of 44 410t for a
target hectarage of 1.8 million hectares. Some seed growers were
still delivering their seed to Seed Houses. However, your Committee
was informed that there was a critical shortage of fertilizers due
to a number of factors; foreign currency shortage, machine breakdowns
and transport logistics to move raw materials on time. Unless government
embarks on a massive import programme of fertilizers and agro-chemicals,
farmers will have to make do without fertilizers this summer crop
also observed that the DDF was not well equipped to meet its tillage
set target of 224 820 hectares. Most of its equipment has become
obsolete whereas the little available equipment is down due to lack
of spares. The Acquisition of Farm Equipment and Material Act
passed in 2004, does not seem to have made any positive dent with
respect to boosting the DDF mechanization strength.
Your Committee was dismayed
to note that most of the agricultural parastatals are not sufficiently
geared up to meet the demands of the agrarian reforms. Their problems
range from lack of management competencies, adequate resources and
dereliction of functions prescribed in the enabling legislation.
The case in point being GMB, which has been operating without a
Board and substantive accounting officers for a very long time now,
yet GMB is supposed to be the nerve centre of agriculture in this
country due to the responsibilities assigned to it by government
after the implementation of the Land Reform Programme in 2000.
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