‘Unite for com­mand agri­cul­ture’

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Elita Chik­wati Harare Bureau

VICE PRES­I­DENT Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa has called on Zim­bab­weans to put aside their dif­fer­ences and unite to sup­port the gov­ern­ment-led com­mand agri­cul­ture scheme in a bid to boost food se­cu­rity and nu­tri­tion in the face of re­cur­rent drought con­di­tions.

He said this at the fourth An­nual Na­tional Agribusi­ness Con­fer­ence at the Ex­hi­bi­tion Park in Harare yes­ter­day.

The con­fer­ence was at­tended by Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing Agri­cul­ture, Mech­a­ni­sa­tion and Ir­ri­ga­tion De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter, Dr Joseph Made, his deputies, Cde Davis Mara­pira and Cde Paddy Zhanda, Min­is­ter of State for Harare, Cde Miriam Chikukwa, deputy Chief Sec­re­tary in the Of­fice of the Pres­i­dent, Re­tired Colonel Chris­tian Kat­sande, farm­ers’ or­gan­i­sa­tion rep­re­sen­ta­tives and busi­ness sec­tor rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

In a speech read on his be­half by the Min­is­ter in the VP’s of­fice, Cde Clif­ford Sibanda, VP Mnan­gagwa said suc­cess­ful agri­cul­tural per­for­mance would stim­u­late the agro-in­dus­try and cre­ate em­ploy­ment.

“I call upon right think­ing Zim­bab­weans to invoke the spirit of patriotism and ded­i­ca­tion to the wel­fare of the coun­try by cast­ing aside petty ri­val­ries and join­ing hands in sup­port­ing this vi­tal Gov­ern­ment ini­tia­tive. The ini­tia­tive has a po­ten­tial to re­store food se­cu­rity and nu­tri­tion, gen­er­ate in­come and im­prove liveli­hoods of all our peo­ple in­clud­ing those in the di­as­pora ir­re­spec­tive of gen­der, re­li­gion, ori­gin and po­lit­i­cal ori­en­ta­tion,” said VP Mnan­gagwa.

“It is an unas­sail­able fact that suc­cess­ful agri­cul­tural per­for­mance in this great coun­try will stim­u­late agroin­dus­try, down­stream in­dus­tries, the ser­vices sec­tor and em­ploy­ment cre­ation among other ben­e­fits,” he said.

He said com­mand agri­cul­ture was a na­tional pro­gramme that had been oc­ca­sioned by the de­clin­ing trend in pro­duc­tion and a steady in­crease in na­tional food in­se­cu­rity from an av­er­age of 12 per­cent in 2011 to as high as 42 per­cent in 2016 where as many as four mil­lion peo­ple are likely to be food in­se­cure, ac­cord­ing to the 2016 Zim­babwe Vul­ner­a­bil­ity Assess­ment Re­port.

Com­mand agri­cul­ture is aimed at rais­ing maize pro­duc­tion and re­duc­ing grain im­ports. It aims to pro­duce two mil­lion tonnes of maize on 400 000 hectares, 200 000 of them un­der ir­ri­ga­tion.

This scheme pro­vides sup­port to par­tic­i­pat­ing farm­ers in the form of ir­ri­ga­tion equip­ment, seed, fer­til­izer and agro­chem­i­cals, tillage and sub­sidised wa­ter and elec­tric­ity charges among other things.

VP Mnan­gagwa said com­mand agri­cul­ture runs along­side the Pres­i­den­tial In­put Scheme which is ex­pected to ben­e­fit 300 000 small-scale farm­ers.

“Ef­forts are al­ready un­der­way to mo­bilise re­sources — for the two schemes. Reg­is­tra­tion of farm­ers for com­mand agri­cul­ture is tak­ing place at lo­cal dis­trict level to al­low for the proper assess­ment of farms with re­gard to ca­pac­ity and po­ten­tial. The equip­ment and ma­chin­ery to be availed to farm­ers will be on a costre­cov­ery ba­sis as noth­ing will be free.

“To en­sure the pro­gramme be­comes a roar­ing suc­cess, I en­cour­age banks and other fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions to be part of the pro­gramme. I call upon pri­vate and pub­lic sec­tor play­ers to part­ner Gov­ern­ment un­der the PPP in this pro­gramme,” he said.

He ad­vised farm­ers with seed maize to make de­liv­er­ies to their re­spec­tive con­trac­tors to in­crease the coun­try’s seed stock. “I want to re­as­sure all stake­hold­ers that a trans­par­ent and cor­rup­tion proof mech­a­nism will be put in place to en­sure sound ad­min­is­tra­tion of the pro­gramme,” he said.

Pre­sent­ing at the same func­tion, di­rec­tor of the Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Ser­vices Depart­ment Dr Amos Maka­rau ap­pealed to Gov­ern­ment to con­sider as­sist­ing farm­ers in com­mu­nal ar­eas with tillage equip­ment as they lost their cat­tle due to the El Nino-in­duced drought. “Most farm­ers lost their cat­tle and do not have draught power. We ap­peal to Gov­ern­ment to as­sist these farm­ers with trac­tors, not as in­di­vid­u­als but as com­mu­ni­ties.

“Gov­ern­ment should also en­sure early dis­burse­ment of in­puts to Mid­lands and Masvingo farm­ers as they rely on early rains,” he said. THE Zim­babwe Na­tional Lib­er­a­tion War Vet­er­ans’ As­so­ci­a­tion’s (ZNLWVA) bid to stop the elec­tion of new lead­er­ship took a new twist yes­ter­day af­ter the High Court threw out the ap­pli­ca­tion for pro­ce­dural de­fi­ciency.

Only two weeks ago, the ZNLWVA suc­cess­fully sought an in­ter­dict block­ing six mem­bers of a splin­ter group — Cdes George Mlala, Charles Mpofu, Joseph Chino­timba, Es­ther Mun­yaradzi, Stephen Moyo and Robert Muk­wena — from con­ven­ing a spe­cial meet­ing to elect a new ex­ec­u­tive.

But, the other seven — Cdes George Ma­tenda, Pa­trick Nyaruwata, Fu­ture Piriyana, Welling­ton Chite­hwe, Rueben Chikono, Thomas Matambe and Thomas Ku­naka — stood their ground, at­tack­ing the ur­gency of the mat­ter and the in­ad­e­qua­cies that were fraught in the ur­gent ap­pli­ca­tion.

Af­ter hear­ing sub­mis­sions on the pre­lim­i­nary points raised by the seven’s lawyers, Ad­vo­cate Garikayi Sithole, T B Ndoro and F F Hwenira, the court ruled in favour of the seven.

Jus­tice Joseph Musakwa ruled that the de­po­nent to the af­fi­davit on be­half of the as­so­ci­a­tion Cde Agnes Siyakurima had no le­gal ba­sis to in­sti­tute the pro­ceed­ings.

He also found the cer­tifi­cate of ur­gency to be in­valid be­cause it was “a mere re­hash of some por­tions of the found­ing af­fi­davit” among other in­ad­e­qua­cies.

Jus­tice Musakwa said the ap­pli­ca­tion it­self was al­ways lopsided on ac­count of some in­cur­able pro­ce­dural de­fi­cien­cies. “One gets the im­pres­sion that the en­tire ap­pli­ca­tion was cob­bled to­gether with scant re­gard,” ruled Jus­tice Musakwa.

“There­fore, the points in lim­ine on lo­cus standi, cer­tifi­cate of ur­gency and pro­pri­ety of re­lief sought are sus­tained.”

Man­i­ca­land Pro­vin­cial Af­fairs Min­is­ter Cde Mandi Chimene leads the splin­ter group as its in­terim chair­per­son. Her group is ex­pected to con­vene a meet­ing to elect a new ex­ec­u­tive of the ZNLWVA.

Ad­dress­ing war vet­er­ans, the women’s league mem­bers and youths gath­ered at the Zanu-PF head­quar­ters in Harare re­cently, Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe told the for­mer free­dom fight­ers to elect new lead­er­ship, if they so wish.

The call for new lead­er­ship in the ZNLWVA fol­lows a vote of no-con­fi­dence on the Christo­pher Mutsvang­waled ex­ec­u­tive.

Mr Mutsvangwa was sub­se­quently ex­pelled from Zanu-PF af­ter he was con­victed of con­duct that showed dis­re­spect of the party lead­er­ship.

ZNLWVA sec­re­tary-gen­eral Vic­tor Matemadanda, spokesper­son Dou­glas Mahiya, na­tional com­mis­sar Fran­cis Nhando and deputy chair­per­son Head­man Moyo have since been ex­pelled from Zanu-PF for in­dis­ci­pline.

The quar­tet ap­peared in court fac­ing charges of at­tempt­ing to sub­vert the con­sti­tu­tion­ally elected Gov­ern­ment. They are all out on $300 bail each.

They were ar­rested in con­nec­tion with a damn­ing com­mu­nique last month urg­ing Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe to re­sign.

Mr Rungano Mahuni of Mahuni, Gidiri Law Cham­bers rep­re­sented the ZNLWVA.

Rangers pull a se­dated ele­phant, one of the cap­tured an­i­mals at Mt­shibi Camp, Hwange Na­tional Park yes­ter­day. Pic­ture by Leonard Ncube

Cde George Mlala

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.