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PPC Report - The State of Preparedness by the Agricultural Sector for the 2006/7 Summer Crop Season [S.C 23, 2006]
First report of the Portfolio Committee on Lands, Land Reform, Resettlement and Agriculture
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 Commission.

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 season.

Your Committee 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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