BEATRICE – Potato famers in Beatrice and surrounding areas are counting their losses as Covid-19 restrictions are affecting their harvesting and access to the markets.
Susan Murwisi, a prominent farmer who spoke to The Mirror in an interview said their harvesting and grading of potatoes have fallen back because casual labourers cannot move into the farms because of lockdown restrictions.
Production of potatoes is labour intensive.
Beatrice area in Mash East which is also one of the biggest producers of potatoes in the country has seen sales dropping as customers are not coming to buy because of the movement restrictions. The potatoes are sold mainly to the capital Harare and Chivhu.
Murwisi said transporters had also scaled down their movements thereby worsening farmers’ access to the markets.
Beatrice farmers also produce maize and wheat which it supplies to the Grain Marketing Board.
Vice President Constantino Chiwenga recently announced a lockdown as the third wave of the Covid19 set into the country.
“We require a lot of labour to pick, grade and pack our potatoes and these processes have been severely affected by Covid19 lockdown restrictions on movement.
“Customers also scaled down on orders as business hours have been reduced due to curfew,” said Murwisi. https://masvingomirror.com