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Provincial Newspapers Telegraph

Peri-urban farmers fret over high input costs


CHINHOYI – SOME farmers are fretting over high input costs ahead of the rainy
season, a recent survey has shown.

According to the farmers interviewed during the survey, the price of inputs are very
high and discouraging to farmers.

It means that if one has planned to plant one or two hectares because of these high
costs, he or she might end up planting maybe a quarter of the land prepared and
productivity will be reduced.

Elson Zvavahera from Rusunguko said the prices of agricultural inputs are too high
such that it seems nobody cares for the poor or the underprivileged.
“The Government used to subsidise the prices of agricultural inputs, if only we could
get a donor that could subsidise. We thank the Pfumvudza inputs; to me it is a good
programme that is bringing food to the under privileged.

“We need the Consumer Council to take note of the 0light of the under privileged.
They are suffering because of being overcharged. We used to have uniform prices
on inputs like maize seeds and fertilizers. For example, the prices in Chinhoyi used
to be the same as in Marondera, Gweru or Bulawayo, but these days it is so different
and also very high,” said Zvavahera.

Susan Chitiyo from Mhangura said she has a challenge as a small-scale farmer. Last
season she sold cotton to a cotton company and has since then not received her
cash. This includes some farmers who sold their maize to the Grain Marketing Board
(GMB). Some farmers have not been paid for the maize delivered and are not
returning to their fields because they do not have money to buy inputs.

“How are we supposed to go back to the fields without money for inputs? We need
the cash to buy maize seed and fertilizers to prepare ahead of the rainy season. It
automatically means that I am not able to go back to the fields again, and I am
getting poorer than ever before,” she explained.

Chitiyo added: “I see ourselves not going back to the field this year.”
Chitiyo suggested that the Government intervenes and helps on reducing the prices
of agricultural inputs.

Davison Gurajena, also from Mhangura, said, the prices are beyond the reach of
many farmers, who are now being forced to reduce the hectarage they plan to plant.
“And because of the high prices of inputs, especially of maize seeds and fertilisers,
farmers cannot go back to the fields,” he said.

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