By A Correspondent- The Government is engaging seed and fertiliser producers to boost local production and ensure that input prices are affordable to all farmers.
This was said by Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Minister Anxious Masuka in response to farmers’ concerns over the recent price increases, especially for maize seed and fertiliser.
Farmers attending the recent 81st Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) congress in Gweru last Friday expressed worry that producer prices were no longer viable as a result of increases in inputs prices.
Responding to the president of young farmers within ZFU, Prosper Chikwara, who had asked what the Government was doing to cushion farmers from the rising prices of inputs, Masuka said:
We were actually discussing this matter with President Mnangagwa and Vice President Constantino Chiwenga that inputs have gone up.
Last year, for example, a 10kg bag of maize seed was going for $6 000, but it has now gone up to $17 000.
So, the seed [price] has gone up and at the moment we want to appeal to seed producers not to increase seed prices.
To bring stability to the agriculture sector, we want to localise the production of fertiliser so that in the next three years we don’t hear of importation of fertiliser or ingredients used in the production of the product.
We are in discussion with some of the seed companies so that they produce more and flood the market. So, we are looking at stabilising the products by making them locally.
Masuka said the Government’s grand plan was to ensure that within the next three years, the country has a vibrant fertiliser and seed production base to reduce imports.