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Chaos rocks govt-funded farming


Loughty Dube

A REPORT presented by a parliamentary portfolio committee has said the government has nothing to show for agricultural projects funded from the last budget allocation.
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The committee on Agriculture, Water Development, Rural Resources and Resettlement said it did not understand why those aspects of the land reform programme that were funded by the current budget had not yielded results.


The report, presented during a 2004 pre-budget seminar by the portfolio committee chairman, Daniel Mackenzie Ncube (Zanu PF, Zhombe), said there was chaos on the land. He said even in the event of good rains, inadequate preparations would hamper any prospects of a bumper harvest in the country.


He said the portfolio committee found that there was confusion in seed provision and distribution by the government. It cited as impediments lack of agricultural inputs, delays in announcing producer prices, inconsistent fertiliser supply and the dual foreign currency regime currently in place.


The report was part of a wider report the lands and agriculture committee compiled from fact-finding visits to resettled farms in all the country’s nine administrative districts since January this year.


Ncube told MPs in Bulawayo last week that some of the agricultural inputs meant for A1 farmers did not reach the intended beneficiaries from Harare where all the resources are dispatched from.


“Apart from the erratic distribution system of agricultural inputs, the major complaint from farmers on resettled farms was that the resources were centralised in Harare and therefore did not cascade downwards to reach the targeted beneficiaries, A1 farmers,” Ncube said.


Government allocated $12,5 billion in the 2003 budget for the supply of agricultural inputs and a further $45 billion in the supplementary budget.


The report stated that the seed distribution programme to resettled farmers was a disaster as it did not take into account the country’s ecological make up.


“Seed distribution did not seem to take into account the ecological disparities of the provinces and hence in some cases seed varieties were distributed to areas where they were not suitable,” Ncube said.

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