In a proactive move to bolster the agricultural sector against the looming El Niño-induced drought, the Agricultural Marketing Authority (Ama) has achieved a significant milestone by registering over two million farmers for the government’s input and production schemes in the upcoming 2023/24 agricultural season.
Ama’s Commitment to Empowering Farmers
Clever Isaya, the CEO of Ama, announced this groundbreaking achievement at a recent press conference, highlighting the authority’s dedication to supporting farmers in the face of challenging climatic conditions. The initiative, aimed at mitigating the impact of the anticipated El Niño drought, aligns with the government’s commitment to ensuring food security and empowering agricultural communities.
Isaya emphasized the tangible benefits experienced by the registered farmers, who have gained direct access to government inputs and production support provided by private contractors. The introduction of identity cards further streamlines the process, facilitating easier access to essential resources.
Zimdollar Fuel and Training Initiatives
One notable success is the distribution of over six million liters of Zimdollar fuel, a crucial resource for farmers, farmer unions, and registered associations. Ama’s strategic approach includes empowering farmers not only through inputs but also through knowledge. Last year, 9,500 farmers underwent training, and this year, the number increased to an impressive 10,003, demonstrating a commitment to continuous improvement and education within the farming community.
Ama’s Collaboration with the Ministry’s Village Business Unit Model
As Ama takes strides in supporting farmers, the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries, and Rural Resettlement has launched the village business unit model. With 35,000 village business units set to become operational, the model aims to elevate household incomes in smallholder areas and catalyze rural development.
Challenges and Strategies
Acknowledging the challenges posed by the El Niño-induced drought, Ama and other relevant authorities are closely monitoring rainfall patterns and distribution. USAID’s recent food security report highlighted concerns in deficit-producing areas in southern, eastern, and western Zimbabwe, emphasizing the need for vigilant observation throughout the rainy season.
The decline in water access, particularly in semi-arid regions experiencing below-average rainfall, poses challenges for both livestock and human activities. Livestock travel longer distances for water, impacting cattle conditions and affecting the time available for households to engage in other essential activities.
Ama’s Vision for a Resilient Agriculture Sector
As we navigate the complexities of climate-related challenges, Ama’s unwavering commitment to registering and supporting two million farmers stands as a testament to the resilience and determination of Zimbabwe’s agricultural community. The collaborative efforts between Ama, the government, and various ministries underscore the collective vision for a robust and sustainable agricultural sector that can weather the challenges of the future. Through empowerment, education, and strategic initiatives, Ama paves the way for a brighter and more resilient future for Zimbabwean farmers.
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