THE District Development Fund (DDF) yesterday launched the free tillage programme targeting small holder farmers in Lower Gweru.
Addressing villagers while officially launching the programme, Midlands Provincial Affairs Minister Larry Mavima said Government is assisting small holder farmers to plant their crops to ensure food security.
In a speech read on his behalf by a director in his office, Mr Cleto Diwa, Minister Mavima said the programme was targeting at least 60 households per district which translates to about 30 000 hectares.
He said the tillage programme was coming at the right time when most farmers had received their inputs under the Presidential Input Scheme.
“Government has noted that some small holder farmers are incapacitated to plant their crops and has come up with this noble idea which is coming at no cost to the villagers. We are launching the provincial free tillage programme for the small holder farmers in the province. We are targeting about 60 households per district which translates to about 30 000 ha per district,” he said.
Minister Mavima said the programme shows Government’s dedication to improve food security.
He said nationally, the Government set aside $8,5 million for the programme.
“Following the provision of seed and inputs to small holder farmers under the Presidential Input Scheme, Government through the DDF is now implementing this free tillage programme to ensure that small holder farmers especially the vulnerable people have their land prepared for planting,” the Minister said.
“Government noted that most villagers lost their draught animal power and have no money to hire tractors to till their land. Government released $8.5 million for this process nationally and let me reiterate that beneficiaries should be the most vulnerable households who will be selected by the local leadership.”