THE number of farmers who have registered with the Agricultural Marketing Authority (Ama) to embark in tobacco farming has increased by three percent as the country prepares for the upcoming farming season, the government has said.
Ama is a statutory body with the mandate to regulate production, marketing and processing of agricultural products in the country.
“Regarding the planting of tobacco, some 105 528 farmers have registered for the 2021/22 tobacco season compared to 102 098 farmers that had registered at the same time last year, representing a three percent increase. The area planted is 28 percent above that planted last year, because of an enlarged irrigated crop,” Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa told a post-Cabinet media briefing on Tuesday night.
This comes after Ama recently said farmers who are not registered with the organisation would not benefit from subsidised inputs being availed by the government for the 2021/2022 season.
“Only registered farmers will receive support from government and or private contractors.
“Registration can be done online and alternatively farmers can collect and complete registration forms available at Ama provincial offices and the registration fee is US$1 or equivalent using the prevailing auction rate on the day of payment,” Ama said recently.
Meanwhile, Mutsvanga also said Agriculture minister Anxious Masuka had given Cabinet an update on wheat and grain production in the country.
“The nation is advised that as at the 24th of October 2021, grain intake stood at 1 164 274 metric tonnes, comprising 83 684 metric tonnes of wheat and 1 080 590 metric tonnes of maize, soya beans and traditional grains.
“Regarding farmer payments, a total of $1 billion was received from the Treasury last week and cumulative receipts now amount to $36,059 billion. Grain delivered to date is valued at $40,574 billion, giving an outstanding balance of $4.51 billion,” she said.
Mutsvangwa further said the country had enough seed and fertiliser for the forthcoming season.
“Farmers can promptly collect seed from Seed Co and K2. CBZ is in the process of finalising input supply agreements with Arda Seeds, Syngenta and Torcek.
“On CBZ Agro-Yield/Command Agriculture Programme preparations for the summer cropping season, the nation is advised that currently CBZ Agro-Yield has 18 000 metric tonnes and 15 000 metric tonnes of basal and top dressing fertilisers, respectively.” Mutsvangwa said.
She also said that cotton deliveries had increased by 59.1 percent and that the Treasury had availed $500 million towards the payment of farmers.
“Seed cotton marketing has tailed-off with very few common buying points still to conclude transactions. Seed cotton deliveries to the six contractors have reached 132 132 384kg compared to 83 059 898kg last year, representing a 59.1 percent increase. The value of the seed cotton delivered to date is $6.384 billion.
“Cottco has paid a total of $2.9 billion to farmers, including US$3 912 500. Payments to date are 39 percent of total requirement. Farmers are yet to be paid a total of $3.466 billion for seed cotton delivered to Cottco during the 2020/2021 season,” she said.