Agriculture Community Development Politics

Pfumvudza inputs inadequate: Banket peri-urban farmers

Dr. Anxious Masuka Photo Credit: Herald

By Elvis Dumba

Banket – Smallholder farmers practising peri-urban agriculture who receive free inputs under the Presidential Climate Smart Agriculture Inputs Scheme commonly known as Pfumvudza/Intwasa, are crying foul after the government reduced the number of inputs being distributed.

Peri-urban farmers are being offered 2kg of maize seed per farmer whilst three people share a 50 kg bag of fertiliser.

Last season under the same scheme, peri-urban farmers received 10 kg seed maize, 50 kg bags of both Compound D fertiliser and Ammonium Nitrate per farmer.

A Ministry of Agriculture circular to GMB Depots gleaned by this publication read in part “…please note for peri-urban farmers each farmer will receive 2 kg seed maize and three people to share a bag of 50 kg of fertiliser,” it read.

Some recipients of Pfumvudza inputs

Peri-Urban farmers threatened to boycott receiving the inputs during a Zvimba Rural District Council Ward 22 distribution in Banket recently.

“We do not know why they made this unfortunate decision when they clearly know that agricultural inputs are way too much out of reach for us. I think this is akin to campaigning against President and I don’t think President Mnangagwa is behind this,” John Pondani complained.

“We heard that there will be an increase in the number of people getting inputs this year and we never thought that we will just be sharing the same quantity. The inputs are little and enough for just a small garden. Surely, the authorities need to revisit this decision,” Tariro Dutiro commented.

63-year-old Marian Matamba said she managed to sell two tonnes of maize last season under the same scheme.

“Last year, I sold my produce to GMB and I was expecting to do more this year but now all farming plans have been shattered as I can’t buy maize seed from shops. Why have they made it difficult for us this year? ” she asked.

The recipients only agreed to receive the allocations after Ward 22 Councillor, Never Hutepasi, said he will transmit their concerns to the relevant department.

In nearby farming communities and rural areas, the system is different as each farmer gets 50 kg of fertiliser, 10 kg of seed maize, and a knapsack sprayer.

An opposition political party member, Grant Matsika said the move was aimed at opposition members who make up the bulk of urban dwellers.

“It’s clear this move is targeted at us the opposition as these inputs are supposed to be distributed through a ward councillor so remember that most councillors in urban areas are from the opposition,” he said.

Reached for comment, Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Anxious Masuka said the decision was made due to land limitations for peri-urban farmers

“It is because of the land limitations as those in towns do not have bigger space of land and you have to notice that those in communal areas have at least five plots required in the scheme. This has nothing to do with politics,” he said.

A bag of 20 kg seed maize is averaging US$40 whilst a 50 kg bag of Compound D fertiliser is averaging US$85.

Last season most of the inputs under Pfumvudza saw their way to the black market in most towns.

Meanwhile, the cost of fertiliser is expected to rise after the government through thge Industry Ministry re-introduced import duty on fertiliser.

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende