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Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Brazil-Zimb: 2015 - an Eventful Year for Zim Agric Sector

The year 2015 was an eventful one in Zimbabwe's agricultural sector. The resuscitation of irrigation schemes countrywide under the $38 million Brazil More Food for Africa Programme, revival of the Agricultural Rural Development Authority estates and settlement of the outstanding payments by the Grain Marketing Board characterised the 2015 agricultural year. However, farmers continued to face challenges such as drought, high inputs costs, lack of affordable funding and foot and mouth disease outbreaks which are threatening the sector. Farmers also complained of the imported agricultural produce that flooded the local market as they failed to secure viable markets. Irrigation In 2015, Government secured a loan facility from the Brazilian Government to cater for agricultural machinery and equipment targeting about 22 000 A1 and communal farmers. The equipment was availed on a cost recovery basis. Beneficiaries of the programme received tractors, fertiliser spreaders, lime spreaders and irrigation kits. The move was hailed by most agricultural experts as a noble way to capacitate smallholder farmers who played a pivotal role in food production. Experts said by modernising and commercialising smallholder farming, the nation would achieve household food security, which would eventually translate into national food security. Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made said the programme empowered smallholder farmers, especially youth and women with modern machinery to boost production. "The programme has a direct impact on food production. Farmers will be able to produce crops that will boost their income. Ending hunger is also an overall objective of the African continent and Sadc. This programme will enable production of crops of all kinds including horticulture throughout the year," said Minister Made.

Source: All Africa