July 28, 2010

Farming sector improving, says UN

The farming sector in Zimbabwe has started to recover from depths plumbed two years ago when it faced a food crisis, and the country's food security situation is improving, a U.N. official said. "There was an improvement from 1.2 million tonnes to 1.3 million tonnes," Jacopo D'Amelio, a regional information coordinator with the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation. He noted that this was a sign that the Farm Mechanisation Programme, a brainchild of Reserve Bank Governor Dr Gideon Gono, was beginning to bear fruit. "There's also a feeling that the food security situation is improving," he said.

Distribution of inputs by the Reserve Bank and better use of land have led to the improvement, despite the fact that donors have withdrawn their support for Zimbabwe's agriculture because of government's policy of land redistribution. "Donors are putting in less money," D'Amelio said and added that aid agencies would consider extending programmes to sell fertiliser and seeds at discounted prices to those who can pay.

Relief agencies say combined donor support to small farmers accounted for up to 20 percent of Zimbabwe's maize output of 1.3 million tonnes in the 2009-10 season. The other 80 percent came from RBZ support. (The Zimbabwe Guardian)

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