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May 23, 2009

Zimbabwe to receive fertilizer for wheat from South Africa

Zimbabwe is set to receive fertilizer worth R60 million (US$6 million) for the winter crop from South Africa this month as part of R300 million of aid promised by the neighbouring country after the formation of the inclusive Government.

The Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Dr Joseph Made and South Africa’s newly appointed Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Ms Tina Joemat-Petterson met in late May on the sidelines of the meeting of Ministers of Agriculture of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) held in Johannesburg to discuss the modalities of the programme. Dr Made said yesterday that it was agreed that considering the time-frame of the winter crop, the fertiliser should be in the country by June 10.

"This is part of the remainder of the R300 million inputs that was promised by South Africa early this year. Some of the inputs came into the country in January and February and were used for the summer crop," said Dr Made. He said like in the summer crop, the fertilizer would be channelled towards the small holder farmers only.

"We will use the same logistical arrangements agreed between South Africa and Zimbabwe when the pledge was made."

To speed up the distribution, Made said a programme had been put in place to distribute the inputs directly to the farms and communities.

"No input will be coming to a central place like Harare, but from South Africa they will be distributed straight to the farms. Those earmarked for Bulawayo will go straight from Beitbridge Border to the area. The same approach will be used for all other farming areas in the country that are supposed to benefit," he said.

South Africa was among the first countries to pledge assistance to the country following the formation of the inclusive Government.

"We are very grateful to the South Africans for what they have done so far and we hope this will go a long way in helping revive our agriculture."

The Sunday Mail

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