Evaluation of the Appropriateness of the Current Sugarcane Out-grower Support Programs towards Improving Yields in the Lowveld of Zimbabwe

Main Article Content

Shirichena Kudakwashe
Mavondo Greanious Alfred
Moyo Obadiah
Chikuse Francis Farai
Mkwanazi Blessing Nkazimulo
Gwatiringa Calletta

Abstract

Problem: Sugar production has drastically reduced over the years due to several reasons. The effects of the Land Redistribution Program (LRP) on agriculture, price controls, associated inflationary economic conditions, and hostile international foreign policies have formatted years of economical upheavals affecting sugarcane production. The infrastructure which had been developed to the point of being among the most sophisticated irrigation systems in the world, is threatened with collapse. Approximately 872 out-grower farmers, largely beneficiaries of the Fast Track Land Reform and Redistribution Program, have acquired sizable tract of land hoping to build the sugar industry but numerous problems beset the sector players.

Objectives: To find solutions to the sugar production through investigating and looking into the appropriateness of the out-grower support for this end.

Methods: Out-growers, beneficiaries of the Land Reform program and targeted sugar producers were observed to be the best source of information on how best to revitalize sugar production in Zimbabwe. Probability random sampling technique to select the out-growers was used. A list of all the out-growers was drawn and using the Kth term every eighth name was picked until a sample of 100 was reached. A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect data from the participants. Five-point Likert scale close-ended questions were used in the questionnaire followed by Cronbach’s alpha coefficient analysis for internal validity and reliability testing. GraphPad InStat Software (version 5, GraphPad Software, San Diego, California USA) was used for relative statistical comparisons between estimates with. P values of 0.05 was considered as statistically significant.

Results: The population age groups of out-grower farmers were mixed with majority of them falling between 46 to 55 years with the majority of the farmers having 10 to 19 years of experience in sugarcane farming business. Most out-growers were educated holding at Ordinary (O) level of education. Out-growers who did ordinary level and above proved to be following the standard sugarcane procedures. A relatively high proportion of respondents followed the standard sugarcane growing procedures although the farmers did not possess enough business managerial skills. There was a notable difference in production between farmers that had formal sugarcane growing training than those that did not have. A significant proportion of lending institutions charged rather exorbitant interest rates and lacked flexibility required by the farmers.

Conclusion: The general business operating environment for out-grower farmers was rather hostile with short loan repayment periods, reduced yields per hectare and low profit margins. The sugarcane out-growers were not keen to form syndicates for buying inputs or repairing infrastructures.

Main recommendation: Out-growers should be provided with funding and training to allow them to utilize resources adequately to generate incomes that will allow them to support the agricultural activities efficiently without relying on input support from commercial plantation owners. Out-growers need to be encouraged to form partnerships for to enable them to advantages in reducing production costs.

Keywords:
Land reform programme, out-grower farmer; sugarcane, Zimbabwe small scale farming, out-grower agricultural support, input subsidy program

Article Details

How to Cite
Kudakwashe, S., Alfred, M. G., Obadiah, M., Farai, C. F., Nkazimulo, M. B., & Calletta, G. (2020). Evaluation of the Appropriateness of the Current Sugarcane Out-grower Support Programs towards Improving Yields in the Lowveld of Zimbabwe. Asian Journal of Advances in Agricultural Research, 13(2), 20-40. https://doi.org/10.9734/ajaar/2020/v13i230101
Section
Original Research Article

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