Pres­i­dent urges na­tion to pre­pare for farm­ing sea­son

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MORE than 2 000 farm­ers have signed up for the com­mand agri­cul­ture ini­tia­tive while the Govern­ment has so far se­cured $503 mil­lion for farm­ing in­puts for the 2016/17 sum­mer sea­son.

As prepa­ra­tions for the forth­com­ing agri­cul­tural sea­son in­ten­sify, some of the in­puts are al­ready on the ground in large quan­ti­ties. This comes as Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe yes­ter­day called on the na­tion to pre­pare for the sea­son “with se­ri­ous de­ter­mi­na­tion” and re­cover from losses en­coun­tered in the past agri­cul­tural sea­sons.

Speak­ing af­ter the 303rd Zanu-PF Polit­buro meet­ing in Harare yes­ter­day, the rev­o­lu­tion­ary party’s sec­re­tary for ad­min­is­tra­tion, Cde Ig­natius Chombo, said all was set for the re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion of the agri­cul­ture sec­tor in line with 10-Point Plan Eco­nomic Growth enun­ci­ated by Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe re­cently.

He said Vice Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa, who chairs the Cabi­net Com­mit­tee on Food and Nu­tri­tion to­gether with Agri­cul­ture, Mech­a­ni­sa­tion and Ir­ri­ga­tion Devel­op­ment Min­is­ter, Dr Joseph Made, in­formed the Polit­buro on Govern­ment’s po­si­tion with re­gards to fund­ing and in­put dis­tri­bu­tion. “The Vice Pres­i­dent re­ported that 2 007 farm­ers had signed per­for­mance con­tracts un­der this pro­gramme (com­mand agri­cul­ture),” Cde Chombo said. “Al­ready 5 961 hectares of ir­ri­ga­ble land have been tilled in prepa­ra­tion for the sea­son. Govern­ment has 980 trac­tors avail­able for hire, in­clud­ing 74 from the Dis­trict Devel­op­ment Fund and a to­tal of $503 mil­lion has been se­cured from var­i­ous lo­cal fi­nanciers to mo­bilise the in­puts. In­puts on the ground as we speak in­clude 2 750 tonnes of seed, 20 000 tonnes of lime, 4 500 tonnes of basal fer­tiliser, 6 400 tonnes am­mo­nium ni­trate and four mil­lion litres of diesel.” Fer­tiliser com­pa­nies have 100 000 tonnes com­pounds and am­mo­nium ni­trate in stock, while seed com­pa­nies have 40 000 tonnes, which are enough to sup­port com­mand agri­cul­ture. The pro­gramme aims to pro­duce two mil­lion tonnes of maize on 400 000 hectares of land. The farm­ers, to work un­der strict su­per­vi­sion, will be re­quired to com­mit five tonnes per hectare to Govern­ment as re­pay­ment for the in­puts and agri­cul­tural equip­ment.

Cde Chombo said Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe em­pha­sised the need for ad­e­quate prepa­ra­tions.

“Not­ing that the 2015-16 farm­ing sea­son was not pleas­ing, Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe en­cour­aged the na­tion to pre­pare with se­ri­ous de­ter­mi­na­tion to do bet­ter this sea­son and re­cover from the losses of the past two sea­sons,” he said.

“His Ex­cel­lency urged stake­hold­ers, mainly seed and fer­tiliser pro­duc­ers to co­op­er­ate with Govern­ment so that this sea­son is a suc­cess­ful one.”

Cde Chombo said Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe had lamented the in­dis­ci­pline wit­nessed in the dis­tri­bu­tion of land, es­pe­cially in ur­ban ar­eas, giv­ing rise to land barons.

“He warned ur­ban ci­ti­zens not to build on land that was not prop­erly al­lo­cated. This will re­sult in their struc­tures be­ing de­stroyed and urged lo­cal au­thor­i­ties to en­sure that no con­struc­tion should take place on land that is not legally al­lo­cated and planned for.”

Turn­ing to party is­sues, Cde Chombo said the Polit­buro had de­lib­er­ated on prepa­ra­tions for the 16th An­nual Na­tional Peo­ple’s Con­fer­ence slated for Masvingo in De­cem­ber.

He said the con­fer­ence to be held at the Masvingo Agri­cul­ture Show­grounds, would be held un­der the theme: “Mov­ing with Zim-As­set in Peace and Unity.”

Said Cde Chombo: “The venue re­quires lots of civic works to meet the re­quired stan­dards of a con­fer­ence venue.

“The party has un­der­taken to make up­grades that will greatly im­prove the out­look of Masvingo Show­grounds and en­able it to host not only the con­fer­ence but other ma­jor na­tional and even in­ter­na­tional events. This is in line with the party’s vi­sion of im­prov­ing the coun­try’s in­fra­struc­ture. The fi­nance sub-com­mit­tee has started mo­bil­is­ing funds and two fund-rais­ing din­ners will be held in this re­gard. An ex­hi­bi­tion will run con­cur­rently with the con­fer­ence.”

He said one of the ma­jor high­lights of the con­fer­ence would be the “Walkathon” where party youths are ex­pected to walk from Harare to Masvingo, plant­ing trees at iden­ti­fied schools in the process.

Cde Chombo said na­tional com­mis­sar Cde Saviour Ka­sukuwere, had re­ported on the out­reach pro­gramme be­ing done by the Chitepo Ide­o­log­i­cal Col­lege in var­i­ous prov­inces.

“Un­der this pro­gramme, party mem­bers are schooled on the party ide­ol­ogy and his­tory,” he said.

“This has been well re­ceived. He also up­dated the Polit­buro on the prepa­ra­tions of Zanu-PF for the Nor­ton and Chi­man­i­mani by-elec­tions. Gen­er­ally the party is strong across all prov­inces and pro­grammes are go­ing ac­cord­ing to plan.”

He said the sec­re­tary for ex­ter­nal af­fairs Cde Sim­barashe Mum­bengegwi re­ported to the Polit­buro on Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe’s re­cent vis­its to New York, United States, for the United Na­tions Gen­eral As­sem­bly and Venezuela for the 17th Non-Aligned Move­ment Sum­mit.

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe

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