dr made 21.10.10.jpgGovernment has availed over US$26 million for the winter wheat season with US$11 million being channelled towards the rehabilitation of small holder irrigation schemes dotted around the country.

Part of the money is for the procurement of critical inputs which will be disbursed through the Grain Marketing Board (GMB).

In a media briefing in Harare, Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister, Dr Joseph Made says cabinet has directed the relevant authority to timelously release the money so that the winter wheat farmers have ample time to prepare for this season as delays result in low productivity.

“As we speak, cabinet has made it very clear that the inputs, which include the left over stock from last season, should swiftly be moved to various parts of the country so that there is maximum productivity,” Dr Made said.

On the criteria to be used in the disbursement of the inputs, Dr Made said A1, A2 and communal farmers can benefit from the government scheme and it will be based on the track record of the farmers.

“The Grain Marketing Board is the sole distributor of these inputs and it will entirely depend on the track record of the farmers. We hope that it will be done on time,” He added.

Under the scheme, Ammonium Nitrate and Compound D fertilisers will be available at US$15 per 50kg bag whilst seed will be sold at US50 cents per kilogramme.

Winter wheat should be planted by mid May 15 being the precise date that agricultural experts normally set as the deadline.

For the past few years, preparations have been slow and this contributed to wheat shortages experienced in the country.

However, it is hoped that the projected 75 000 hectares for the winter crop will be attained this year or even surpassed.