Thursday, November 5, 2009
Zimbabwe has no money for food production!
HARARE – Zimbabwe’s cash strapped government has managed to raise only US$5.7 million out of $48 million it had planned to use to fund agricultural production this season, the ministry of agriculture said on Tuesday. In the first official confirmation that the 2009/2010 farming season that began last week will again go to waste, agricultural permanent secretary Ngoni Masoka also said that the country had managed to acquire less than half of the amount of fertilizer required by farmers.“Only US$5.7 million out of a total provision of US$48 million having been released as at 30 September 2009,” Masoka told Parliament’s portfolio committee on agriculture.The lack of funds had crippled efforts to mobilise resources and inputs to ensure increased food output to end hunger that has stalked Zimbabwe for the past 10 years, according to Masoka.He said: “A total of 1 200 000 tonnes of fertiliser were required for the 2009/2010 season. To date only 44 percent has been mobilised through private sector partnerships and donor assistance, leaving a huge gap which will adversely impact on productivity.”President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s coalition government has made revival of food production to end hunger a key priority. But the administration’s failure to raise cash from donors has hampered its ability to resuscitate agriculture or other key sectors of the economy. Farm invasions that have continued despite promises by the unity government to restore law and order in the agricultural sector will also hit hard efforts to increase food production.* Zimonline