The Commercial Farmers’ Union and Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union (ZFU) yesterday told Parliament that exorbitant electricity and water charges are threatening food security in the country as farmers are now reluctant to embark on wheat farming.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
The union leaders made the remarks when they appeared before the Parliamentary Thematic Committee on Millennium Development Goals to give an update on how their unions were planning to mitigate food shortages in the country.
Both unions also recommended that farmers should embrace conservation agricultural programmes, especially in drought-prone areas.
“Agriculture used to have a 40% discount on electricity, but that subsidy was removed and that is why very few farmers take up wheat production because electricity is very expensive, followed by fertiliser and seed,” said ZFU first vice-president Barian Mukwende.
“Water is also expensive and goes up to $15 per megalitre, and farmers have to use many megalitres of water which is not sustainable.”
Some of the issues that were said to threaten food security in the country included the high cost of locally-produced fertilisers.
Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs yesterday cancelled its scheduled meeting with Finance and Economic Development secretary Willard Manungo following the death of its chairperson Amos Midzi (Epworth MP).
The committee wanted Manungo to respond to reports that Zimbabwean officials in foreign diplomatic missions were struggling financially due to lack of government support.