By Alois Vinga
THE government injected US$50 per hectare for farmers under the command agriculture scheme, leaving thousands of needy producers across the country stranded and unable to plant crops, a recent report by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT) has revealed.
On average, a farmer needs US$200 to plant one hectare of the maize crop.
The report titled, ‘Zimbabwe Smallholder Agricultural Productivity Survey’ shows glaring statistics indicating how government was under-funding the agricultural sector despite pouring US$3.2 billion under the controversial programme.
“The proportion of farm inputs supported by government in terms of value was around US$50 per hectare leaving farming households to fund the remaining US$150 per hectare,” said the report.
ZIMSTAT also observed that in communal lands, government funding stood at 42% while self-support from the farmers under the cluster stood at 83%.
In small-scale communal farms, government support stood at 54% with self-financing at 142% while for A1 farmers, government injected 48% support leaving farmers to inject 146% from personal funds.
The trend was similar for old resettlement areas, which received 51% while the farmers supported themselves to the tune of 130%.
According to ZIMSTAT, the data used to compile the report was collected in 2017 between post planting and post harvesting.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa, then Vice President, was in charge of the command agriculture programme.