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AT least 13 500 disaantaged households that benefited under a US$200 voucher inputs support scheme aimed at improving food security are expecting a bumper harvest this year.

The programme targets vulnerable households run by orphans and those with limited means to sustain agriculture.

About 7 000 farmers in Hurungwe were assisted with inputs including maize seed, herbicides, pesticides and fertilisers. They received technical assistance and extension services from Agritex.

One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Sarudzai Chari of Kasimure in Karoi, said she was on chronic ailment medication and had no means to sustain her family but managed to get inputs for a one and half hectare plot.

“We now have hope for a better future after getting support under the programme where I managed to save the little money I got from well-wishers,” she said.

Linkages for Economic Aancement of the Disaantaged (LEAD) programme director Mr Elliot Takaendesa said the scheme was part of a national goal to ensure that every household has at least a tonne of maize.

“Our aim is to improve food and nutrition security of vulnerable households through improved agricultural production and productivity and to reduce dependency on donor aid,” he said.

He said while the initial target was to ensure smallholder farmers got at least two tonnes every season, farmers were now managing up to 10 tonnes per hectare.

The thrust, he said, was to resuscitate the rural agricultural supply chain through supporting farmers with land and labour, but without cash.

LEAD is implementing the programme with the assistance of Agritex, the Department of Livestock Production and Development and Department of Veterinary Field Services.

Source : The Herald