Zimbabwe: Govt Abandons Winter Wheat Farmers

Most winter wheat farmers in Mashonaland East province have failed to plant the crop due to government’s failure to provide promised inputs, amid reports that Zimbabwe only has a month of wheat supplies in stock.

A number of farmers, who recently spoke to the NewZimbabwe.com on condition of anonymity, accused the government of abandoning them by failing to provide the required inputs including fuel through the Command Wheat Programme.

The deadline for planting wheat this year was May 31, but most farmers said although they had registered with the Ministry of Agriculture to grow the crop, they did not receive the promised inputs.

The farmers said due to ever increasing prices of inputs especially fertilisers, fuel and electricity, they were unable to plant the crop on their own.

“We have been planting wheat through the Command Agriculture programme for the past three years, but this year, we failed to get the required inputs although we had registered with the ministry as required,” said one Marondera farmer.

Another farmer said most registered farmers had failed to plant this winter season due to unavailability of the traditional government subsidies.

“It is impossible for us to grow the crop without government support as we cannot afford the high prices of inputs especially fertilisers, pesticides and fuel,” he said.

Recently, the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) claimed it had also mobilised US$80 million for inputs and machinery for production of at least 150 000 tonnes of wheat across the country under the National Wheat Contract Farming Committee (NWCFC). However, the farmers said they were unaware of the facility.

Zimbabwe requires 500 000 tonnes of wheat a year and US$100 million annually for imports. However, the country is struggling to import it due to severe shortages of foreign currency.

GMAZ public relations manager, Garikai Chaunza said he was not prepared to talk on this year’s winter wheat preparations before referring further questions to government.

However, repeated efforts to get a comment from Mashonaland East Agriculture Ministry officials were unsuccessful as they said they were not allowed to speak to the media.

The bulk of wheat in Mashonaland East is planted in Marondera, Macheke, Goromonzi and Beatrice districts.

See What Everyone is Watching

More From: New Zimbabwe

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 700 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.