Govt places bet on Tar­geted Com­mand Agri­cul­ture scheme

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business Chronicle - Bianca Mlilo Busi­ness Re­porter

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

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