Govt warns rogue farm­ers against Com­mand Agri­cul­ture abuse

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Paidamoyo Chipunza / Tendai Mu­gabe

THE Govern­ment has warned farm­ers against abus­ing in­puts un­der its spe­cialised Com­mand Agri­cul­ture scheme say­ing it will not hes­i­tate to take dras­tic ac­tion against those caught in graft.

Ro­bust mech­a­nisms have since been put in place to bring the cul­prits to book.

Vice Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa, who was the guest speaker at the of­fi­cial open­ing of Hom­biro Clinic in Uzumba last Fri­day said the Govern­ment knows pro­jected har­vests of all farm­ers un­der the scheme.

His re­marks come in the wake of un­con­firmed re­ports that some ben­e­fi­cia­ries from Mashona­land East were sell­ing fuel coupons and other in­puts al­lo­cated to them.

Said VP Mnan­gagwa: “You must make sure that you put to good use the in­puts that you re­ceived un­der Com­mand Agri­cul­ture. We don’t con­done any forms of abuse or cor­rup­tion on these in­puts.

“If you re­ceive in­puts un­der this pro­gramme, be hon­est and truth­ful. We don’t want cor­rup­tion. We will al­ways catch up with you and we will not hes­i­tate to take ac­tion. Re­mem­ber, when you re­ceive these in­puts, you fill in forms with de­tails show­ing pro­jected yields.”

VP Mnan­gagwa said start­ing next year, the Govern­ment would broaden the scope of Com­mand Agri­cul­ture to in­clude soya bean pro­duc­tion with a view to meet quan­ti­ties re­quired by cook­ing oil pro­duc­ers.

He said fol­low­ing the in­tro­duc­tion of Statu­tory In­stru­ment 64 of 2016, de­mand for soya beans by cook­ing oil com­pa­nies rose sharply.

He said some cook­ing oil pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies which were op­er­at­ing be­low 20 per­cent were now op­er­at­ing at above 85 per­cent after in­tro­duc­tion of SI 64.

“Since the in­tro­duc­tion of SI 64, some cook­ing oil com­pa­nies that were op­er­at­ing at be­low 20 per­cent are now op­er­at­ing at over 85 per­cent and a few oth­ers at 100 per­cent” he said.

VP Mnan­gagwa said some com­pa­nies had re­duced their labour force to be­low 500 em­ploy­ees but owing due to de­creased pro­duc­tion but have steadily in­creased to more than 800 in some cases.

Fig­ures at hand show that the coun­try re­quires 2,4 mil­lion tonnes of grain an­nu­ally for hu­man and live­stock con­sump­tion.

VP Mnan­gangwa said un­der Com­mand Agri­cul­ture, the Govern­ment has al­ready ex­ceeded the 400 000 hectares of land re­quired to pro­duce enough maize by over 60 000 hectares.

Re­spond­ing to Uzumba leg­is­la­tor Cde Sim­ba­neuta Mu­darikwa who had said his con­stituency had no mar­ket for their tomato pro­duce, VP Mnan­gagwa said the Govern­ment was work­ing on de­cen­tral­is­ing the tomato plant in Nor­ton to all prov­inces for easy ac­cess by tomato farm­ers.

“Each province should have a replica of the Za­grinda plant to re­duce walk­ing dis­tances by farm­ers to and from Nor­ton to sell their pro­duce,” said VP Mnan­gagwa.

Mean­while, farmer or­gan­i­sa­tions and in­di­vid­ual farm­ers said the Com­mand Agri­cul­ture scheme was be­ing ham­pered by lo­gis­ti­cal chal­lenges such as trans­port.

They urged Govern­ment the to ad­dress the prob­lem pro­jected tar­gets. A Bin­dura farmer who re­fused to be named said: “There are chal­lenges in the trans­porta­tion of the in­puts and fears are that if the rains in­ten­sify be­fore the in­puts reach most farm­ers that may af­fect the yields. “Fears are that trans­porta­tion of the in­puts may be af­fected by the rains since some of the ar­eas will not be ac­ces­si­ble once it starts rain­ing. We are ap­peal­ing to Govern­ment to speed up the de­liv­ery of in­puts,”he said. for them to meet

Vice Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa

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