The Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU) has begun distributing farming inputs under a loan facility targeting farmers who are yet to receive payment from last season’s grain deliveries to the Grain Marketing Board.
Several farmers are struggling to acquire inputs for the 2014/2015 farming season owing to the failure by the GMB to pay them.
The grain company owes farmers about $50 million for last season’s crop.
ZCFU president Mr Wonder Chabikwa said the union, in partnership with a South African based seed company Klein Karoo, had mobilised $100 000 and was providing farmers with maize, sorghum and millet seed to cover up to 20 hectares.
“We have started giving farmers seed for this season and we are mainly targeting those who have not yet received money from The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) for grain delivered last season,” he said.
“We made a deal with a seed company, Klein Karoo so that it provides farmers with seed upon payment of 50 percent of the total amount. The farmers will pay the rest after selling their produce or as and when they get money.”
Mr Chabikwa said there was no collateral needed and the facility targeted farmers in provinces with ZCFU members such as Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland West.
He said pensioners and any other commercial farmers in the target provinces were also eligible.
“We are not demanding collateral from the farmers as this will hinder the farmers from accessing the seed. We are also not demanding interest when the farmers pay back.
“Our partners, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland West Provinces are the main target, but we hope to expand to other provinces in future.
ZCFU also advised farmers to grow short season variety seed and drought resistant crops like sorghum and millet owing to the change in weather patterns that have produced unpredictable rains.
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