By Majaha Nkonyane | 2018-06-14
THE National Maize Corporation (NMC), a parastatal under the ministry of agriculture will take over government’s farm input subsidy programme and tractor hire services from 1 July.
This means that farmers will nonger deal regarding the ministry of agriculture with these services in the next ploughing season as these programmes are now in the hands of NMC.
The announcement was made by Minister of Agriculture Moses Vilakati in a press briefing yesterday.
The take-over follows the many challenges faced by the ministry in delivering these services to farmers. Some of the challenges identified by the minister include shortage of diesel for tractors, and delivering seeds and fertiliser to farmers on time.
Vilakati said the ministry amongst other responsibilities has the mandate of ensuring food and nutrition security at national level hence the subsidised seed costs, fertiliser and tractor hire NMC according to Vilakati has reduced prices despite a hike in seeds and fertilizer. Farmers will pay E3 000 for maize seeds and fertilizer, E2 500 for sorghum seeds and fertilizer, E4 000 for sugar beans and fertilizer and pay E250 per hour for tractor hire services.
Farmers will no longer have to travel to Rural Development Agencies (RDA) for seeds and fertiliser subsidy. According to Vilakati, farmers will use their farmer cards which are obtained during registration to access their inputs at a closer participating agro dealers whose names and locations will be announced by NMC.
Tractor hire services will be accessed from RDAs and agro centres, the new system is will be operational from July 1.
Farmers are expected to start making payments from July 1 until September 29. Vilakati said, farmers will continue accessing the tractor hire services as normal, and those farmers’ with outstanding tractor hours and seeds with fertilizers will be served by NMC after July 1.
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