CHIREDZI – The Zimbabwe Sugar Association Experiment Station (ZSAES) has lamented the decrease in news farmers’ yields, saying the drop from 600 000 tonnes per year to about 300 000 tonnes witnessed recently could not be justified.
These sentiments were expressed during a Zimbabwe sugar industry seminar held at Triangle Country Club last week.
The seminar ran under the theme, ‘Improving Sugarcane Production in Zimbabwe’ which is the 24th of its kind.
ZSAES director, Dr Muntubani Nzima castigated the farmers for adopting what he termed a donor syndrome similar to that among subsistence rural farmers who largely rely on free inputs facilities like the Presidential Inputs Scheme.
“Unfortunately, a number of us sugarcane farmers are behaving like the rest who just want free things. I heard some of you talking about command sugarcane. You are asking Dr Nzima and the rest of Zimbabwe to fund your commercial production which is continuously declining,” he said.
Dr Nzima said a lot of capital was used to purchase fertilizers and herbicides that he said were later resold by beneficiaries at giveaway prices.
Nzima said farmers should take farming as a business in order for them and the economy to prosper.
“When I talk about this, it’s because we have the ability to turn things right. We saw three million spent on fertilizers and half a million on herbicides and we can put even billions but some of the fertilizers will never saw a day in the cane field.
“We need to win ourselves not just asking for help from Tongaat Hulett. Unless we as farmers change our attitude from today and view farming as a business, we will not prosper,” he said.
Most farmers in the Lowveld are under-performing and most of their land is being under-utilised.business