zim new farmer.jpgFarmers have expressed concern over failure by the Mid-Term Fiscal Policy review statement to address funding constraints facing the agriculture sector.

The Mid-Term Policy statement has dashed farmers’ hopes of securing meaningful government assistance in the forthcoming summer cropping season as it provided just an assessment of what the sector requires.

Farmers said the policy did not pronounce any concrete schemes or plans apart from promises to avail funding.

Zimbabwe Farmers Union Executive Director, Mr. Paul Zakariya said the statement pronounced by Finance Minister Tendai Biti showed that treasury has great understanding of what is going on in the agriculture sector and the challenges it is facing, but did not offer any solutions.

“This is a terrible blow and the statement has thrown farmers hopes into turmoil. The season is around the corner and expectations were high that there would be some schemes for agriculture,” said Mr. Zakariya.

Goromonzi farmer, Cde Boniface Mutize said farmers had proposed the setting up of a financial scheme for the agriculture sector but the farmers’ views were ignored and highlighted that the re-introduction of duty on farming implements will raise the cost of acquiring equipment.

“We are not happy at all about the Mid-Term Fiscal Policy review statement … how do you expect to grow the economy without funding agriculture, yet you say it is the backbone of the economy,” Cde Mutize queried.

Given the shortcomings in the fiscal policy statement, analysts say the forthcoming season could lessen the contribution of agriculture to the economy if no interventions are made.