Fight against hunger be­gins

Farm­ers in­vited for $500m com­mand agri­cul­ture

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Felex Share Harare Bureau

REGIS­TRA­TION of farm­ers will­ing to take part in the $500 mil­lion com­mand agri­cul­ture has be­gun, with the Govern­ment yes­ter­day invit­ing those in­ter­ested in the scheme to regis­ter with Agri­tex of­fi­cers in their re­spec­tive ar­eas.

Ad­dress­ing jour­nal­ists in Harare yes­ter­day, Deputy Chief Sec­re­tary to the Pres­i­dent and Cab­i­net (re­spon­si­ble for im­ple­men­ta­tion, mon­i­tor­ing and eval­u­a­tion) Mr Justin Mu­pamhanga, said work was in progress on the scheme that was aimed at en­sur­ing maize self-suf­fi­ciency this year.

The pro­gramme, which aims to pro­duce two mil­lion tonnes of maize on 400 000 hectares of land, will see iden­ti­fied farm­ers be­ing given in­puts, ir­ri­ga­tion and mech­a­nised equip­ment.

“Regis­tra­tion of farm­ers as we speak is in progress at all Agri­tex of­fices coun­try­wide,” Mr Mu­pamhanga said.

“As we pro­nounce this pro­gramme, we are com­mu­ni­cat­ing to all farm­ers so that they start tak­ing part in the pro­gramme. In­for­ma­tion and regis­tra­tion on con­tract farm­ing start­ing 2016/2017 sum­mer sea­son can be ob­tained from the near­est Agri­tex of­fices. Fur­ther de­tails can be ob­tained from the com­mand cen­tre on tele­phone num­ber 04-792447. The pro­gramme will sup­port with, where re­quired, pro­duc­tion in­puts like fer­tilis­ers, seed and agro­chem­i­cals on a cost re­cov­ery ba­sis.”

The farm­ers, to work un­der strict su­per­vi­sion, will be re­quired to com­mit five tonnes per hectare to the Govern­ment as re­pay­ment for the in­puts and agri­cul­tural equip­ment.

They will re­tain all sur­plus pro­duced for per­sonal use.

Mr Mu­pamhanga added: “All farm­ers with po­ten­tial to pro­duce above five tonnes per hectare are be­ing tar­geted. The Govern­ment is em­bark­ing on this spe­cial pro­gramme on con­tract maize pro­duc­tion to guar­an­tee food se­cu­rity. Farm­ers that are tar­geted to par­tic­i­pate in the pro­gramme are those with ir­ri­ga­tion in­fra­struc­ture, po­ten­tial ir­ri­ga­ble ar­eas and maize pro­duc­ers on dry land both large and small scale farm­ers.”

Vice Pres­i­dent Emmerson Mnan­gagwa, who chairs the Cab­i­net Com­mit­tee on Food Se­cu­rity and Nu­tri­tion, re­cently said Cab­i­net had tasked the Min­istries of Lands and Ru­ral Re­set­tle­ment, Agri­cul­ture, Mech­a­ni­sa­tion and Ir­ri­ga­tion Development and En­vi­ron­ment, Wa­ter and Cli­mate to iden­tify farms, farm­ers and wa­ter bod­ies for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the com­mand agri­cul­ture ini­tia­tive.

He said of the 400 000 hectares tar­geted, at least half of that would be ir­ri­gated land.

VP Mnan­gagwa said the Govern­ment was ne­go­ti­at­ing lines of credit with var­i­ous fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions to fund the pro­gramme.

At least 2 000 farm­ers are ex­pected to par­tic­i­pate in the scheme and will sign a per­for­mance con­tract for three con­sec­u­tive grow­ing sea­sons.

The Govern­ment’s de­ci­sion to em­bark on com­mand agri­cul­ture was ne­ces­si­tated by the rise in na­tional food in­se­cu­rity from about 12 per­cent in 2011 to 42 per­cent this year.

The Zim­babwe Vul­ner­a­bil­ity As­sess­ment Re­port says four mil­lion peo­ple need food aid this year be­cause of an El-Nino-in­duced drought.

Other the Govern­ment pro­grammes such as the Pres­i­den­tial In­puts Sup­port Scheme will re­main in place to com­ple­ment the com­mand agri­cul­ture.

VP Emmerson Mnan­gagwa

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