Zimbabwe has announced a $161 million aid package for small-scale and communal farmers.
The country has seen maize, wheat and cotton output drop in recent years. The maize and fertilizer manufacturing companies have been hit by such problems as a increased power outages and capitalization constraints.
Of course, some blame the land reform program that President Robert Mugabe’s government enacted in 1999. Under that reform, mostly white productive farmers were displaced and their prime land was parceled out to black inexperienced and poorly capacitated farmers, reports Business Day Live.
Now in an effort to decrease the losses in productivity, the new Zimbabwe Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa announced the government was targeting mostly communal and smallholder farmers, under a $161m input-support plan.
The bid to strengthen the farmers’ capacity also appeared to have been extended to underpin the government’s position ruling out imports of genetically produced foods.
“We will not allow GMOs (genetically modified organisms). We want to protect our own (agriculture sector),” Agriculture Minister Joseph Made said.
The Food and Agricultural Organisation has also shown willingness to avail a further $19.25 million to support smallholder farmers.
“The input-support scheme will come in the form of fertilizers and seed with a value of about $150. The farmers will have the option of either taking up crop support or livestock support through subsidies to cater for vaccines and stock feed,” reports Business Day Live.