Government has availed $77 billion for agriculture inputs to vulnerable households under its Pfumvudza Agricultural Productive Scheme, targeting to put 845 000 hectares under cereal and oil seeds.
This was revealed in the 2023 national budget presented by Finance minister Mthuli Ncube last week as farmers prepare for the 2022/23 summer season.
Ncube said various projects have been set in motion to transform the agricultural sector with support of innovative technologies.
“The ongoing transformation of the agricultural sector, anchored on innovative technologies and good agronomics, is underway through various programmes and projects aimed at promoting production and productivity.
“For the 2022/23 summer farming season, government is providing agriculture inputs to vulnerable households under the Agriculture Productive Scheme (Pfumvudza/Intwasa) targeting 845 000ha under cereal and oil seeds at a cost of $77 billion,” he said.
The Treasury boss added that for the National Enhanced Agriculture Productivity Scheme, government had issued a US$154,6 million equivalent local currency guarantee to AFC Bank to raise resources to finance maize, soya beans, sunflower and traditional grains.
“In addition, AFC Holdings has been capacitated with tractors and implements which are being leased to farmers on a cost recovery basis, as well as 10 000ha of land which can be used to leverage funding for the sector. Government is also capacitating CBZ Agro Yield to finance the 2022/2023 summer cropping season,” Ncube said.
Government introduced the Pfumvudza programme a few years ago to mitigate climate change ravages on the smallholder food production sub-sector.
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The conservation agriculture concept ensures minimum soil disturbance to maintain the soil structure and mulch, while religious adoption of crop rotations is recommended.
The programme seeks to upscale value creation and incomes at the household level targeting over three million households in the 2022/23 summer season up from 2,3 million in its first year of implementation in 2020.
In its first year of implementation, pfumvudza contributed 41% to total maize production in the 2020/21 season which saw the country, breaking maize production records to reach 2 717 171 tonnes and over 350 000 tonnes of traditional grains.
Total grain output reached over three million tonnes against a national annual requirement of 2,2 million, leaving a surplus of over 800 000 tonnes.
National average maize productivity grew sharply from 0,5 tonnes per hectare in the 2019/20 season to 1,4 tonnes per ha in the 2020/21 season, mainly because of the religious implementation of these flagship programmes.
The agriculture ministry has been allocated $362,5 billion by Treasury in the 2023 budget, most of which is for programmes that ensure food security in the country, such as agriculture input support under the Agriculture Productive Social Protection Scheme, management of the StrategicGrain Reserves, water harvesting and irrigation development.
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