Preparation for summer cropping season starts

GOVERNMENT has said it has started preparing for the coming summer cropping season and distribution of inputs under the Presidential Input Scheme will start in the coming weeks.

Responding to questions in the Senate on Thursday, the Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Vangelis Haritatos said despite some disturbances caused by the Covid-19 induced lockdown, Government had already started preparing for the summer cropping season.

The Deputy Minister said this year, the winter wheat programme had benefited from the uninterrupted electricity supplies.

Responding to a question posed by Senator Sikhanyisiwe Mpofu, Deputy Minister Haritatos said preparations for the cropping season started in April.

“I’m happy to inform you that preparations for the new farming season started as far back as April 2020. You will note that despite the lockdown disturbances, we have caught up and we are ready for the new farming season which is approaching us. Right now, as we speak, the Presidential Input Scheme inputs have been procured and should start being delivered to the provinces next month. Command Agriculture now falls under the financial institutions,” said the Deputy Minister.

He said there were many Government programmes aimed at assisting farmers such as availing farming equipment as well as fuel for land preparations and other operations.

“With regards to the Hon Senator’s question on the tractors for tillage, you will note that we have the John Deere facility which was launched not so long ago and we have the upcoming Belarusian facility next month which will be launched by His Excellency. We are fairly confident that these two programmes will certainly have a great impact on the agricultural sector at large,” he said.

The Deputy Minister said Government was working to ensure that there is electricity to improve yields.

He said the winter wheat programme had gone on well with Zesa providing uninterpreted supply to farmers across the country.

“On the last question with regards to the Ministry of Energy, I would like to thank them for coming to the table this season, under wheat they have certainly lifted our hopes. You will notice from the season that considerable amount of hectarage is under wheat because we have had guaranteed supply of electricity,” said Deputy Minister Haritatos.

He said everyone including MPs was facing fuel challenges. The Deputy Minister said discussions were underway with the Ministry of Energy and Power Development to address the problem.–

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