The Presidential Agricultural Input Support Scheme that was launched for the 2013/14 farming season, targeting 1.6 million households at a total cost of US$161 million. The input packages were mainly distributed through the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depots throughout the country. However, this became a major challenge for the scheme, as GMB depots were not situated in all farming communities, and very often the GMB failed to deliver inputs on time for the planting season because of logistical problems. Free direct input distributions had been minimized in favour of the use of subsidized vouchers and contract farming arrangements. The use of electronic vouchers had also been tested by the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, with support from FAO and other partners. The e-vouchers system gave farmers the choice of the inputs they needed, but they were also required to contribute to the voucher’s cost. Even if the provision of input subsidies remained a government priority (as also stated in ZimAsset), farmers continued to face challenges linked to the shortage and uncertainty of input supplies.
2018/19 Farming Season
The Presidential Inputs Scheme was launched earlier than in previous years to allow smallholder farmers ample time to prepare for the 2018/ 2019 season. The scheme was launched at Supa Township in Musana, Bindura by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Retired Air Chief Marshal Perrance Shiri. The programme targeted 1,8 million smallholder farmers countrywide and vegetables such as cabbages, carrots and rape were also included in the scheme. Minister Shiri said the programme was also extended to cotton, targeting 400 000 smallholder farmers to support the production of cotton in the dry agro-ecological region of the county. The issue of climate change and climate variability also has serious impact on productivity and Government was working on a number of initiatives, which included irrigation rehabilitation and development. The Presidential Inputs Scheme is complementary to Command Agriculture. The Presidential Inputs Scheme is meant to enable smallholder farmers to become food secure as well as address nutritional requirements at household level by availing critical inputs. The input pack for household food production will provide 10kg seed maize, 5kg sorghum seed 50kg basal fertiliser (Compound D) and 50kg top dressing fertiliser. In addition, farmers will receive 10kg soya beans. Other inputs include sugar beans and cowpeas meant to address nutritional needs at household level. The cotton input package will comprise 20kg seed, two bags of basal fertiliser, Compound L and one bag of top dressing (fertiliser). This package will also come with agro-chemicals for pest control.