GOVERNMENT yesterday unveiled a $161 million input support programme to enable farmers to grow maize and small grains, including rearing livestock for the 2013/2014 farming season.
The basic input package that will be availed to farmers will include 10kg of maize/small grain seed, 50kg compound D fertilizer and 50kg lime for each household.
The input support scheme will benefit communal, old resettlement, small scale and A1 farmers with a combined coverage of 1,6 million households.
An outstanding $11,8 million owed to seed houses and fertilizer suppliers was also cleared.
In a joint statement, Agriculture minister Joseph Made and Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said $9,2 million owed to farmers by Grain Marketing Board had also been cleared.
“In the drier areas, farmers may not necessarily need crop input packs, but would rather prefer support to cater for their livestock. In such areas, a livestock support pack comprising drugs, vaccines and stockfeed equivalent to the value of grain input package would be availed instead,” the two ministers said.
The private sector, government said, had provided funding to the tune of $120 million towards the scheme.
The government will be working with the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and other co-operating partners in the scheme.
“Government is therefore, pleased to advise that an amount of $40
million is being disbursed to the fertilizer industry towards initial payment for supplies required under the agriculture input support programme,” he said.
“Furthermore, government is also availing some $10 million to the seed houses towards payment of 2013/14 support programme.”
Chinamasa and Made said the FAO was working in conjunction with other co-operating partners have indicated readiness to partner government to the tune of $19,25 million, targeting 77 800 smallholder farmers.
Government will also be working with the banking sector to finance farmers.