Home » Business » DDF Requires U.S.$400K for Equipment, Free Tillage

The District Development Fund does not have adequate equipment to offer tillage services to new farmers in the 2014-15 summer cropping season as the bulk of it need repairs.

Permanent Secretary for DDF and Related Infrastructural Development in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Mr James Jonga said DDF had 530 tractors but only 102 were operational, with 236 requiring major repairs.

He said 192 had minor problems.

Of the 402 ploughs that DDF has, only 83 are functional with 172 having major breakdowns and 147 with minor defects.

In terms of disc harrows, the company has 153 of which 35 are operational while 118 need attention.

The DDF has 126 planters but only 20 are functional while the remainder need repairs.

“The tractors and related equipment that are operational are obviously not adequate for the anticipated demand. We have requested $400 000 from Treasury for the repair of all equipment with minor breakdowns as well as fuel for tillage support to vulnerable groups before the peak demand period for the 2014-15 summer season,” Mr Jonga said.

He said DDF required $400 000 to offer free tillage services to A1 farmers and other vulnerable groups across the country.

“We target to till an aggregate of 35 000 hectares of land across all the farming sectors.

“Government through DDF had traditionally been offering tillage services targeting the vulnerable groups in society like the poor, the aged, child-headed families and widows of heroes who do not have draught power.

“We aim to till two hectares for A1 farmers under the disaantaged area programme. We consider them disaantaged because most of them do not have tillage facilities,” said Mr Jonga.

“The programme is dependent on timeous release of seed money from Treasury to repair and maintain the machinery.”

He said DDF was yet to start offering free tillage services to farmers but a limited fleet of tractors was available for cash paying farmers.

“We have not yet started offering free tillage services to A1 farmers as we await resources from Treasury to finance operations. A limited fleet of tractors are available for cash paying farmers who are making early land preparations for the impending 2014-15 summer season.

Mr Jonga said the tillage service was available to all paying farmers irrespective of status.

“When resources have been availed to address the concerns of the vulnerable groups, the operational modality immediately shifts in favour of the disaantaged as a priority target,” he said. DDF offers services such as boom spraying, discing, land rolling, lime distribution, planting, ploughing, ridging, fertiliser spreading and ripping.

The authority charges between $5 and $88 per hectare depending on a farmer’s requirements.

Source : The Herald

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