KM Financial Solutions, a local financial advisory firm, has mobilised financial resources for a potato contract farming scheme for the 2012-2013 season in a bid to reduce the country’s dependence on regional imports.
KM Financial Solutions business development executive Patridge Sibanda said the fund was targeting youths aged between 21 and 35 years.
“We are targeting the small- scale farmers to take up more than one hectare,” said Sibanda.
“We have been funding farmers in the last two years and last year we also supported 1 000 farmers to do 2 000 hectares of tobacco.”
Sibanda said the response from farmers for the potato growing contract scheme was overwhelming given the financial situation in the country.
He said the country was currently exporting potatoes and this confirms that the market was not the problem, but the product was in short supply, as farmers had little resources.
Sibanda said KM Financial Solution was working with potential financiers and the amount to be disbursed will be determined by the number of farmers that register for the scheme.
Official figures from the Second Round Crop Assessment and Livestock Report indicate that agriculture shed 13,2% and was, therefore, now projected to decline to 5,8%.
Crops which lost output were maize, tobacco, wheat, sorghum, soya beans and ground nuts.
“The downward revision is mainly attributed to the poor agricultural season which was characterised by late onset and erratic rainfall, and long dry spells from the end of December 2011 to mid-February 2012,” said Finance minister Tendai Biti in his Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review.
“The decline in agriculture output during the 2011-2012 season will have to be reversed in order to meet our objectives on food security and sustaining of agro-processing industries.”