Parliament has been told that the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security (MOA) has decided to come up with an efficient, cost effective and sustainable arable farming programme designed to increase agricultural productivity and food security at household level.
The new transformative food production programme will replace ineffective Integrated Support Programme for Arable Agriculture or (ISPAAD). Minister Karabo Gare said the new scheme has been designed with the following goals; to enhance agricultural productivity and output growth; to promote inclusivity in agricultural production and to improve social capital base.
The programme shall have, amongst others, the following objectives;
- a) the increase in the yield of selected crops through the introduction of output based encashment, introduction of insurance cover, seasonal guarantee loans as well as robust promotion of climate smart agriculture.
- b) promotion of investment in crop production by increasing agricultural commodities in the product space from four (4) to at least ten (10) products by the year 2024.
This will be done through the promotion of post-harvest handling and marketing of key rainfed crops (logistics, packaging, storage management technologies, pest management and preservation technologies), promotion of procurement of farm produce through Economic Diversification Drive and facilitation of contract based production.
- c) promotion of agro-ecological production by aligning four (4) of the eight Agro Ecological Zones according to commodity potential by the year 2024, in order to maximise production as the country is not homogeneous in terms of soil characteristics, rainfall patterns, land uses, crops adoptability and change of seasons.
- d) to increase the area cultivated in sixteen (16) clusters from 60.7% (35,686.62 ha) to 100% (58,785.62) by the year 2024. To achieve this, infrastructure will be developed in clustered production areas as well as to facilitate establishment of private sector led service centres within the clusters.
- e) Strengthen farmer’s position in the food supply chain by reviewing the current farmer’s committee structures and capacitating the Agricultural Management Associations (AMA) as well as promoting a robust public and private extension service base.
- f) Promotion of agro tourism through the utilisation of unproductive land for lodging and other recreational facilities as well as relocating agricultural exhibitions to clusters.
However, the roll-out of the new programme will commence in 2022-23 financial year.
“The designing of the programme has been finalised. However, my Ministry realises that even though the new programme is ready to be implemented, it will not be feasible in this coming ploughing season,” he said.
Some of the reasons, amongst others, are;
- the ploughing season is starting in October 2021 and farmers have not been informed about the new programme.
- it might cause confusion and frustration amongst farmers and input suppliers to learn and implement the new programme at the same time.
iii. My Ministry, further needs more time to communicate the new programme before implementing it, for proper buy-in and understanding of the new parameters of the programme.
In the advent of the above, the Ministry will continue with the ISPAAD transition programme which was implemented in the 2019/2020 ploughing season with the following Guidelines;
1.0 General Guidelines
1.1 The transition period is from October 2021 to June 2022. This is the last extension of ISPAAD since a new Programme will be implemented from the next Cropping Season (2022/2023).
1.2 Only farmers who have registered up to 30 September 2021 will be eligible for assistance in the 2021/22 ploughing season.
1.3 Leasing (Borrowing) of fields may be allowed provided the Lessor and the Lessee sign an Affidavit provided by the MoA.
1.4 Farmers ploughing fields without land board certificates but having support/authority from traditional leadership shall be required to bring the signed affidavit from the chiefs confirming such a position to enable their assistance from the Programme.
1.5 The following components of the ISPAAD programme shall be put on hold during the transition period:
- Individual, group and cluster fencing of arable farming areas for which payment has not yet been made.
- Provision of portable water at arable farming clusters.
1.6 Open Pollinated Variety (OPV) seeds for maize, millet and sorghum will be obtained through extension offices across the country.
1.7 The rest of the seeds will be sourced through the coupon system.
1.8 Coupons will be obtainable from the extension offices across the country.
2.0 Subsistence farmers will be assisted as follows:
2.1 Farmers will be provided with OPV seed to cover an area of up to forty three (43) hectares per farmer.
2.2 The provision of seeds shall be for two (2) hectares of hybrid seed and two (2) hectares of open pollinated seeds
2.3 Fodder seeds will be provided at a 50 percent subsidy for a maximum of 3 four (4) hectares.
2.4 Fertilisers will be provided at a subsidy of two (2) bags per hectare for a maximum of four hectares.
2.5 Subsistence farmers will not be eligible for assistance towards the purchasing of herbicides.
2.6 Government will provide draught power to a maximum of four hectares per farmer.
3.0 Emerging farmers
3.1 Farmers will be assisted with a 30 percent subsidy on the cost of seed, fertiliser and herbicides.
3.2 The rest of the conditions for implementing the ISPAAD programme during the transitioning period, remain as in the 2013 ISPAAD guidelines.
4.0 Commercial farmers
4.1 Farmers will be assisted with a 25 percent subsidy on the cost of seed, fertiliser and herbicides for a maximum land area of 500 hectares.
4.2 The rest of the conditions for implementing the ISPAAD programme during the transitioning period, remain as in the 2013 ISPAAD guidelines.
5.0 Unallocated Farms
5.1 Farmers who plough in unallocated farms such as cattle posts will be assisted with OPV seeds only to a maximum of 3 hectares per farmer.
5.2 Farmers who plough in unallocated farms will not be assisted with drought power, fertilizers or herbicides
5.3 Farmers who plough in unallocated farms will provide a supporting letter (Affidavit) from their Chief.