AGRICULTURE, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development deputy minister Paddy Zhanda has urged farmers to always strive to source own farming inputs rather than depend on free handouts from government.
by Stephen Chadenga
Addressing agricultural stakeholders in Gweru last week, Zhanda said food and input handouts had somehow contributed to the decline in productivity as farmers were no longer taking farming as a business.
“Government is not always there to give aid to farmers, such mentality should be abandoned and farmers need to know that agriculture is a business that requires working hard and proper planning,” Zhanda said.
He said if farmers planned properly they could realise high yields on small pieces of land and in the process boost production in the agriculture sector. He said piling fertilisers and tractors on farmers and having people accessing irrigation schemes would not help if they did not have the necessary understanding of how to increase production.
“If one does not achieve a good yield per hectare, I can assure you such facilities are put to waste,” he said.
Two years ago, Zhanda said free inputs were promoting laziness, particularly among new farmers.
President Robert Mugabe’s government has been distributing free inputs to farmers over the years, although the gesture has not significantly improved agriculture production. Instead, the country, which used to be the breadbasket of Africa, is now importing food from neighbouring countries.