Church leaders urged to pray for rain
ACTING President Phelekezela Mphoko yesterday urged church leaders to pray for the country to receive sufficient rains in the 2016/2017 farming season.
He made the remarks as he distributed an additional 3 000 chicks to the community in Mpopoma-Pelandaba Constituency in Bulawayo yesterday. “I urge all church leaders and all Christians to join hands and pray for rain. We understand this year we are expecting good rains and therefore let us pray to God so that we get normal rain not floods, which end up destroying crops and homes,” said the Acting President. “We don’t want our livestock and people to starve because of drought and that is why we are urging churches to unite in prayer so that God can intervene.”
Acting President Mphoko said the Government has started preparations for the farming season with farmers set to be assisted with agricultural inputs.
The Meteorological Services Department of Zimbabwe has predicted that the country will this year receive sufficient rains.
The Government recently introduced the $500 million command agriculture scheme aimed at ensuring maize self-sufficiency this year.
e registration of farmers willing to take part in the programme has already started, with the Government inviting those interested in the scheme to register with Agritex officers in their respective areas.
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. 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 surplus produced for personal use. At least 2 000 farmers are expected to participate in the scheme and will sign performance-based contracts 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 Government programmes such as the Presidential Inputs Support Scheme will remain in place to complement the command agriculture scheme.
Acting President Mphoko has so far donated more than 40 000 chicks under the on-going poultry programme aimed at reducing poverty and bringing development to local communities.
The chicks are part of the poultry project the Acting President unveiled in June. The programme which is anchored on the country’s economic blueprint, Zim-Asset, seeks to empower communities through utilising local resources.
The chicks were sourced from commercial white farmer Mr Peter Cunningham who owns Maleme Farm in Matobo district. — @ mashnets
Acting President Phelekezela Mphoko and his wife Laurinda visited the late Cyril Ndebele family. In the picture he addresses mourners while his wife (centre) and Cde Tshinga Dube listen