Home » General » ZIMBABWE’S FARMERS UNION SEEKS CONTRACT FARMING SCHEME FOR MAIZE TO ENSURE FOOD SECURITY

HARARE, May 13 – The Zimbabwe National Farmers Union (ZNFU) is negotiating with companies which have been contracting farmers to grow tobacco to get them to roll out similar schemes for maize cultivation to ensure food security in the country.

Most farmers, especially beneficiaries of the land reform programme, have abandoned maize production in favour of cash crops, mainly tobacco and cotton. The increase in tobacco farming has not only contributed to food insecurity in Zimbabwe, but is also an environmental threat as farmers of the golden leaf use wood from felled trees to cure their produce.

ZNFU Executive Director Edward Dune told the Parliamentary Committee on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that the country risked further food insecurity if this situation continued unabated.

“My organization, the ZNFU, is engaging tobacco contractors because as you recall about 75 per cent of tobacco produced in this country is contracted so we are in negotiations with tobacco contractors so that
they simultaneously contract maize production for food security,” he said.

“We are in advanced negotiations with most tobacco contractors that they should also consider contractual arrangements for maize production.”

Dune said other initiatives were also being pursued to increase production of small grains. The decline in grain production is also attributed to failure by the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) to pay farmers on time for deliveries, resulting in most farmers failing to go back to the field and prompting many to shun the state-owned grain procurer for private buyers who sometimes offer low prices.

The situation has scuttled efforts to re-build and maintain the strategic grain reserve at desirable levels.
The Government has since taken steps to privatize the GMB to help revive its fortunes and liberalize grain marketing.

More than 70 per cent of the country’s population relies on agriculture for survival.

SOURCE: NEW ZIANA

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