Notes to Broadcasters on accessing farm inputs

    | November 8, 2010

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    Farmers in Zimbabwe, like farmers everywhere, need to invest at the beginning of the farming season –with labour, tools, seeds, and other inputs. But Zimbabwean farmers have faced a mix of challenges in recent years, including inflation and economic instability, as well as the changing climate. Many farmers have found it tough to buy inputs, or even maintain yields. The government recently announced a support package aimed at small-scale farmers.

    The full announcement is on the government website: http://www.zim.gov.zw/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=328:30m-inputs-for-farmers&catid=103:october-news.

    Farm Radio International has produced a number of scripts which are relevant to this topic. For example, this script describes a traditional storage method from Zimbabwe which can contribute to ensuring food security:

    Communities Revive a Traditional Method of Storing Grain in Times of Need. Package 62, Script 7, January 2002  http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/62-7script_en.asp

    Under Crop Production, many other scripts which deal with land preparation, choosing seed and various methods for improving productivity in different situations, can be found at http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/crop.asp.

    Here are some recent news stories from Zimbabwe published in Farm Radio Weekly:

    Zimbabwe: Livestock farmers adapt to new climate (Issue 100, February 2010)

    http://weekly.farmradio.org/2010/02/22/4-zimbabwe-livestock-farmers-adapt-to-new-climate-zimbabwe-standard/

    Zimbabwe: Renewed interest in traditional food creates opportunities for entrepreneurs and farmers (Issue 121, July 2010)

    http://weekly.farmradio.org/2010/07/26/3-zimbabwe-renewed-interest-in-traditional-food-creates-opportunities-for-entrepreneurs-and-farmers-ips/

    Zimbabwe: Women farmers become empowered by preparing land with their own hands (Issue 89, November 2009)

    http://weekly.farmradio.org/2009/11/23/2-zimbabwe-women-farmers-become-empowered-by-preparing-land-with-their-own-hands-the-standard-ips/

    This week’s story may inspire you to produce a discussion program about support for small-scale farmers.  You could start by finding out what kind of support your government provides. For example, do they provide information, extension workers, loans or inputs? How do they do this? To take the discussion further, ask resource persons and farmers some of the following questions:

    -Is it the government’s responsibility to provide extensive support to farmers? What support should they provide? And what should the farmers be expected to do for themselves?

    -What is the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in your area? What should their role be? How do the operations of local NGOs differ from large international NGOs?

    -How self-reliant are farmers in your region? Do they come forward to request support? What type of support?

    -If there are farmers’ unions or organizations in your region, what difference does this make? Can farmers support each other more effectively when they are organized? Do organized farmers’ groups  request government assistance? Is this because they have a stronger voice?