Infrastructure collapse threatens food security

Farmers are concerned that Zimbabwe could be heading for another disastrous farming season due to poor preparations. Already, as reported by The Zimbabwean recently, fertilizer companies’ production capacity is under threat as they are owed millions of dollars by the government and other clients.

In an interview, the president of the Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe, Charles Taffs, said the 2012/2013 farming season would be one of the worst seasons the country has ever experienced, due to a host of factors that include late disbursement of inputs and a collapse of agricultural support systems.

“This season has been the worst in terms of farming preparations. For the last 12 years we have not been able to feed ourselves and we are heading for yet another disaster. We have no food right now and we are not going to be able to supply enough food to get us through to the next farming season. It’s a huge disaster that will worsen the humanitarian situation in the country,” said Taffs.

“The problem with our political leadership is that they are dealing with agriculture on its own. Agriculture needs support systems in the entire country – including roads, capital, and infrastructure. But all these things have collapsed.”

He said government’s failure to pay fertilizer and seed companies for inputs supplied last year had taken its toll on the 2012/2013 farming season as the companies were now failing to produce enough product.

According to a recent report by the World Food Programme, about 2 million Zimbabweans will need food aid ahead of the 2012/2013 farming season owing to limited access to farming inputs and low rainfall patterns.

The situation has been compounded by drought predictions by the Meteorological Services Department during the traditional farming season from October 2012 to March 2013.

Taffs also blamed the country’s political leadership of sacrificing the agricultural sector for their political survival. “What really concerns me is that our political leaders are not listening. They are so concerned with political survival or constitutional problems and not listening to issues affecting the agricultural sector,” he said.