Are we ready for this farming season?

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THE summer cropping season is finally upon us.
Large and small-scale farmers, communal producers and many in urban areas are raring to go.
But all of them are affected and handicapped by the prevailing liquidity crunch.
It is critical that we expeditiously extend support to our farmers as well as industries supporting the agricultural sector.
Inputs in the form of seeds and fertilisers must get to farmers in time if we are to derive maximum benefits in the 2014/2015 agricultural season.
We should build upon the relatively successful 2013 season that saw production thriving even in areas that have in the past been deemed unsuitable for cropping.
Granaries are not empty, we have no food crisis in the country and farmers can this season embark on agricultural activities on a commercial level.
With last season’s good harvest we began the journey to self-sufficiency.
Food security is vital for many reasons and the most important one is that it ensures sufficiency and lessens the burden on government.
With food security most of our problems will be solved, a thriving agricultural sector will be a boon for the economy.
Food security means imports will be reduced bringing down the import bill that has ballooned over the years.
It is important to note that every dollar that the nation can save is critical; it is money that will be deployed to other areas of desperate need.
Thus we now appeal to the relevant authorities and other supporting entities to ensure that farmers get the necessary support to produce beyond subsistence level.
Yamuro iyi ngaiwanikwe pachinenguva kwete mvura yoturuka/usizo lwakhona kalutholakale isikhathi sisesekhona kulokutholakala izulu selisina.
In the last farming season some granaries were filled to capacity, dzimwe hozi dzakafashukira nezvirimwa zvakasiyanasiyana/ezinye iziphala besezigcwele kakhulu ngezilimo ezitshiyeneyo.
Now let the farmers produce commodities for trade.
The mega deals we have signed with China and Russia can revamp the economy in the short-term.
And ours has traditionally been an agro-based economy.
The country’s agricultural sector at its peak not only provided 60 percent of industry’s raw materials but exported more products than any other industry.
If we are serious about turning around the economy in a manner that is sustainable then all effort must be made to support the farmer for the agricultural sector is the foundation of the turnaround we all desire.
Farmer organisations and other stakeholders must speak with one voice and not duplicate roles.
Lucrative markets must begin to be sourced so that produce will transform the lives of our hardworking farmers that have in recent years been hard done on the market.
Countries such as Russia that have already begun working with us have a huge appetite for agricultural commodities and markets in that country must be understood by our farmers.
Farmers must adhere to international best practices so that their products fetch premium returns.
It is time that even communal farmers start treating agriculture as a business.
The size of a field does not matter in farming, but quality of products.
World over small pieces of land have made millionaires and as a nation we are blessed with vast tracts of fertile land that we must fully utilise.
Thus farmers must engage experts for advise, to test their soils and assist them to come up with crops best suited for their land.
Let us make the best of this farming season.

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