Saturday, May 29, 2010

(HERALD) Govt starts new farm equipment programme

Govt starts new farm equipment programme
By Isdore Guvamombe

Government has embarked on a new-look multi-million-dollar farm mechanisation and irrigation development scheme to complement the previous schemes and maximise agricultural production.

Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Joseph Made yesterday said this time around farmers would pay a deposit first before they get any implements. He said the equipment would be farmer-specific.

"Let me quickly emphasise that there is going to be nothing for free this time. The farmer has to pay a certain deposit first. Where something is not for free, people become more responsible.

"I am not saying we are abandoning our farmers, but they certainly should pay something this time around. The equipment coming is not for free, it is for serious farmers — small or big.

"You must make a down payment of some sort and I know our serious farmers want to pay,’’ said Minister Made.

He said needy farmers should start visiting district and provincial offices with their specific requirements for in situ assessment and that the decision to make farmers pay arose from lessons learnt from the past schemes.

"We have to learn from previous experience. What you have not worked for is easy to destroy or dispose of. Of course, I know our farmers have problems but some of the equipment has been deliberately vandalised or stolen in an act of sabotage. Some of the things that happened to the farmers were meant to shortchange them.

"With immediate effect, needy farmers should indicate their machinery, equipment and irrigation requirements at district and provincial level. Not at the head office in Harare, no!

"All activities and assessments must be done at district level so that the assessment is a reflection of the real situation on the ground.

"I don’t want anyone to apply in excess of his or her actual requirements.

"We want our field officers to check on the ground. We risk giving a small farmer a huge pump or motor. We want to give the right size, of course, with room for expansion,’’ he said.

Minister Made said the new scheme would be centred mainly on irrigation development, product value addition and strategic marketing.

"We are now busy collecting information on the needs of the farmer. Specific needs in their totality as regards the type of equipment and size the individual farmer requires as well as the size of irrigation. There is no need to give someone something too big for a small project, of course we must leave room for expansion.

"Yes, irrigation should be the main anchor so that we increase our land utilisation throughout the year. The bulk of our crop will remain our summer crop, but we want to increase effective winter period production. Summer is having problems with climate change.

"Wherever we are going in search of new equipment we are looking at effective energy-saving equipment. Energy is a serious matter so we are looking at centre pivots, drip and flood irrigation,’’ said Minister Made.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home