Govt places bet on Targeted Command Agriculture scheme
THE GOVERNMENT is confident that the command agriculture initiative to be launched in October and run for the next three farming seasons will succeed, guaranteeing national food security.
Briefing the Senate recently, Chairperson for the Food Security Committee Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa stressed the need for support from input manufacturers for the maize production target to be achieved.
“Indeed, we recently announced the Targeted Command Agriculture scheme. The components of the command agriculture are to achieve certain objectives. The first objective is to be self-sufficient in the provision of food within the next three or four seasons in this country,” he said.
“To be self-sufficient, we need at least two million metric tonnes of grain in the country.
“Through consultations with experts, we’re satisfied that if we support farmers in the production of grain and peg yield levels at five tonnes per hectare, we’ll need 400 000 hectares in the country. That will give us two million metric tonnes per season. This is sufficient for provision of food in the country as well as the strategic grain reserve.”
VP Mnangagwa said they were yet to identify the 400 000 hectares in the country’s 10 provinces and empower farmers by giving them farming implements like machinery or equipment, seed and fertiliser.
He said the success of the programme was hinged on the availability of domestic resources. The VP said various sub-sectors of the economy connected to agriculture should come on board for the success of the programme.
VP Mnangagwa said they had already engaged seed houses, fertiliser and chemical companies and financial institutions to assess what they could each contribute.
He said the next port of call would be to engage the farmers and people living near perennial water bodies to request their participation in the programme or face the risk of relocation to areas without water.
“We must discuss with the farmers themselves and indicate what we want to achieve. For instance, out of the 400 000 hectares, if each farmer is to have 100 hectares, how many farmers would we have? - about 4 000,” said VP Mnangagwa.
“However, we can also say a farmer with 50 hectares and another farmer with 50 hectares can come together and be given implements and support in the programme.” — @BiancaMlilo
Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa