The Presidential Inputs Scheme funded to the tune of US$153 million will this season include distribution of soya bean seeds to 1.8 million households thereby complementing distribution of maize, cotton and small grain seeds.

A soya bean seed package has been added to the Presidential Inputs Scheme as government widens the crop support base in a development that will complete the crop rotation cycle and enrich soils in small holder farming areas. 

Minister of Agriculture Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, Dr Joseph Made said the soya bean seed package will be accompanied with distribution of rhizobium which aids nitrogen fixation in soya beans.

“1.8 million households, the same households that we are giving the maize or small grains will be given a soya bean package so that we introduce proper crop husbandry and crop rotation. You plant your quarter hectare of maize, quarter hectare of soya, hectare of cotton, quarter hectare of whatever other crops, it could be tobacco and you put in the proper crop rotation because these crops are beneficial. It’s as if we are rewarding our farmers for manufacturing fertiliser, this is what other countries did, the United States, Brazil and Asian countries,” said Dr Made.

Minister Made added the price so for soya beans will remain at US$610 per metric tonne, since it is a beneficial crop agronomically.

The incentive to the soya bean farmers and the maize farmers has been criticised in some quarters of industry and World Bank economists, but government has maintained its stance on promoting primary production.

The Presidential Inputs Scheme is targeting AA1 farmers, small scale farmers, communal areas, old resettlement areas and peri-urban areas.

Last year 800 000 households benefitted from the scheme.