Masvingo Development Trust (MDT) has allayed fears over delays in rolling out this year's winter maize project, with Government confirming that everything was in place to meet the 3 000 hectares target.
This year's winter maize initiative seeks to increase the area to be put under maize and traditional grains by almost 10-fold to help beat recurrent food shortages caused by climate change-induced droughts.
The development comes as the trust also revealed it had made a net profit of more than $15 million from last year's winter crop, grown on only 327ha.
MDT chair Cde Lovemore Matuke said everything was on track and played down fears the initiative was facing challenges. "There were delays on our part (MDT) to source inputs under Command Agriculture, but I am happy that we have done all the paperwork and the inputs are on their way and we expect to take delivery very soon," he said. Cde Matuke said it would be easy to meet this year's targeted hectarage as sugar-producing firm Tongaat Hullet will offer technical and mechanical support for tillage and tendering the crop.
The sugar producer was also earmarking an undisclosed hectarage for winter maize for its own workforce.
"We are pleased to note that Tongaat is joining the winter maize initiative, not only as our partner, but the company is going to put an undisclosed hectarage to grow maize for feeding its workers in the light of increasing food insecurity," said Cde Matuke.
He said the roping in of small scale indigenous sugar cane farmers with fallow irrigable land to grow winter maize was a master stroke, which would significantly increase land under winter maize this year.