A cross section of players in the economy say government’s command agriculture scheme has had positive impact on their business.
Initially targeted at production of maize to ensure the country attains food self sufficiency, the scheme has now broadened to include fisheries, livestock, soybeans, tobacco and cotton.
Among the major beneficiaries of the command agriculture scheme are seed companies which have received substantial orders from government.
Syngenta seed local distributors Intaba trading Operations and Sales manager Talk Chinoda said they had received a significant order for maize seed from government for the command and presidential inputs schemes.
“This year production is for the local market in particular the presidential inputs and command agriculture schemes. We expect to produce 1700mt of maize seed all for the local market,” said Chinoda.
Another seed producer Seedco through its CEO Morgan Nzwere confirmed that it had benefited immensely from the command agriculture scheme.
“In Zimbabwe, the Government funded agricultural programs are expected to continue having tremendously boosted the national harvest. From lows of around 500 000mt the current harvest is now near the 2 000 000m mark, and the country very much close to self-sufficiency, with Seed Co varieties having played a pivotal role in this turnaround story.
Initial seed requirement indications for this program are as follows
Maize seed :23000mt (both Presidential and command schemes) to assist 1.6m households, Sorghum : 1000mt to benefit 200000 households Soyabeans : 10000mt to plant 100000 ha,” said Nzwere.
The impact of the command agriculture has been felt in other sectors of the economy such as the beverages sector.
Beverages giant Delta recently confirmed that a spike in its products uptake was attributable to the improved performance of the agriculture sector and subsidies enjoyed by farmers.
“The agriculture sector performance has improved and the subsidies provided by government to farmers in particular maize growers have helped our business boom hence the strong volume recovery we are witnessing,” said Delta CEO Pearson Govera.
ZB bank chief executive Roy Mutandagayi also confirmed that his organization had witnessed a 144 percent growth of deposits from the agriculture sector in the first six months of 2018 against prior period last year.
“Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy and we support it. We would like to ensure that all land is productive and we support a number of tobacco, cotton, small grain, and maize farmers. We are looking at opportunities in the sector,” said Mutandagayi.