Zimbabwe: Govt Sets Aside $62m for Grain Procurement

07.03.2017

Government has made a provisional budget of $62 million for grain purchase this year, while modalities to secure additional funding are being worked on, a Cabinet Minister said last week.

Zimbabwe expects a bumper harvest this season following good rains which coincided with the roll-out of a $500 million dollar three-year command agriculture scheme introduced to address perennial food shortages.

Government has already set the maize producer price for this year, unchanged, at $390 per tonne. Maize is the country's staple food.

Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made said preparations for post-harvest activities were already being made in anticipation of a good harvest.

"To date treasury has made a provisional budget of $62 million to be channelled towards grain purchases. More resources are being mobilised," he said while giving oral evidence before the Senate Thematic Committee on Peace and Security.

"The Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) is also making some arrangements as directed by treasury, we also raise finances through AMA, and another $80 million is targeted for that."

Dr Made said the total area put under maize countrywide in the 2016 /17 farming season (all schemes included) was 1,2 million hectares compared to 773 000 hectares the previous season.

Of that total, 153 000 hectares were planted under command agriculture, of which about 66 percent of the area planted had "very good" yield prospects.

He said more could have been achieved under the command agriculture scheme were it not for several challenges faced, chiefly input shortages.

"What was the most limiting factor is the fertilizers (which were in short supply)," he said.

Dr Made said the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) was also renovating and repairing silos in readiness to receive grain.


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