Farmers in the Chambara area, Chegutu East have raised concern over the high price of fertiliser while others say the availability of both basal and top dressing fertilisers under the command agriculture programme is erratic resulting in crop stress.

Farmers said they have not been able to get comprehensive packages for fertilisers as per their requirements under the government’s command agriculture programme a situation that is sometimes causing crop stress as application deadlines are missed.

Those sourcing fertliser from the open market are complaining over high prices of the commodity which they say are as high as $40 per bag.

Their wish is that the prices be slashed to $30 dollars and below.

Last season, Zimbabwe produced surplus grain underpinned by the command agriculture programme.

In Chipinge, a number of farmers contracted under command agriculture are facing shortages of top dressing fertiliser with some of the maize urgently requiring ammonium nitrate while other farmers have raised concern over the high price of the commodity.

January is that time of the year when maize in most parts of the country is due for top-dressing, however with the increased number of hectares planted this year buoyed by last year’s command agriculture success has resulted in more pressure to access top-dressing fertilisers in Chipinge.

While some farmers were given top dressing fertiliser under command agriculture, others are still to receive their allocations threatening viability of their farming activities this season.

Farmers who were buying top dressing fertiliser in Chipinge appealed for authorities to regulate fertiliser prices saying the exorbitant charges of between $40 to $50 per bag demanded by some shops is unsustainable.

Demand for top dressing fertiliser is usually high in upper Chipinge due to the heavy rains experienced in the area hence it is a prerequisite for farmers to achieve a bumper harvest.