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Agricultural Experts Write Off Zimbabwe's 2008/2009 Crop Season


The Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe has all but written off this year’s maize planting season, which should be well under way now but has been stymied by widespread shortages of key inputs, instead urging the government to mobilize food aid and imports.

The CFU and farming experts said seed, fertilizer and fuel are in critically short supply, a situation compounded by a deteriorating national transport systems.

Despite assurances from the government and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe that they are lining up essential materials, most are unavailable as the planting season passes.

For a closer look at the crisis, reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe turned to Commercial Farmers Union President Trevor Gifford and agronomist Roger Mpande.

Gifford said there is only enough seed on the market to plant about 40,000 hectares compared with the 1 million hectares that should be put under maize to meet national needs.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...