Sharon Chigeza Post Correspondent
STRINGENT requirements for joining Government’s recently introduced command fisheries programme are responsible for farmers in Manicaland’s seeming reluctance to join the scheme, an official has said.
Speaking at the 108th edition of the Manicaland Agricultural Show, principal agri-business officer with Agritex, Mr Joseph Mukajami said farmers were showing interest in the programme but were experiencing difficulties in acquiring the facilities needed.
“Livestock production is quite a challenging project, which requires attention to detail and one cannot afford to take short cuts in animal husbandry or fisheries.
“Farmers in the province have welcomed the command fisheries and livestock initiative but face the challenge of meeting the mandatory requirements needed for them to get inputs,” he said.
Mr Mukajami could however not be drawn to outlining the ‘stringent’ requirements that the farmers were struggling to meet saying he would need a thorough assessment of the situation and the issues farmers were raising.
Provincial livestock production and development head, Mr Joshua Zvoutete concurred with Mukajami saying most farmers in the province lacked the understanding of what being a farmer was, making it difficult to implement programmes such as command fisheries and command wildlife.
“Most farmers in the province have a settler mentality where they put the idea of a homestead first before they think of production. They believe they are farm owners just by virtue of owning animals or a pond not taking cognisance of the specific requirements needed for maximum production,” said Mr Zvoutete.
The national Command Fisheries Programme that was introduced last year seeks to contribute towards the provision of food, thereby alleviating poverty and promoting good human health through improving dietary habits.
Government, through the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks), has since then invited interested farmers to apply for permits.