Govt seeks for­eign fund­ing for Com­mand Agri­cul­ture

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Ju­lia Mu­gadza­weta Harare Bureau

THE Gov­ern­ment has ap­proached for­eign fi­nanciers to meet the re­quired $500 mil­lion tar­get for the Com­mand Agri­cul­ture pro­gramme af­ter re­ject­ing lo­cal of­fers be­cause of the pro­hib­i­tive in­ter­est rates charged.

This was re­vealed by Vice Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa dur­ing a Zanu-PF cau­cus held at the party head­quar­ters in Harare yes­ter­day.

VP Mnan­gagwa, how­ever, said of the tar­geted 20 000 farm­ers, 12 000 had al­ready re­ceived inputs.

“For the whole project to go un­der­way, we needed $500 mil­lion, and were able to source more than that here in Zim­babwe. How­ever, we could not ac­cept it due to pro­hib­i­tive in­ter­est rates,” he said.

“We have re­ceived 10 000 tonnes of basal fer­tiliser from China (and) so far, 12 000 farm­ers of the tar­geted 20 000 farm­ers have se­cured inputs.”

VP Mnan­gagwa said sig­nif­i­cant progress was al­ready reg­is­tered in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the pro­gramme, which is aimed at pro­duc­ing two mil­lion tonnes of maize dur­ing the 2016-2017 farm­ing sea­son.

He ex­plained that farm­ers were di­vided into two groups, with in­di­vid­ual farm­ers with 50 hectares and above re­ceiv­ing inputs in their in­di­vid­ual ca­pac­i­ties, while those with 10 hectares were put into groups of five.

VP Mnan­gagwa said farm­ers at farms with non-func­tion­ing ir­ri­ga­tion equip­ment were also given money to ser­vice it.

Pro­vin­cial Min­is­ter of State for Mata­bele­land South prov­ince, Cde Abe­dinico Ncube asked how his prov­ince could also ben­e­fit from Com­mand Agri­cul­ture given that it was in re­gion five where crop farm­ing was not ideal.

VP Mnan­gagwa told the min­is­ter that Com­mand Agri­cul­ture would in­clude de­vel­op­ment of live­stock farm­ing and that 2 000 hectares were tar­geted to im­prove live­stock de­vel­op­ment us­ing im­ported star grass from Brazil.

Man­i­ca­land Min­is­ter of State Cde Mandi Chimene said peo­ple were fac­ing chal­lenges in ac­cess­ing tillage ma­chin­ery and that might de­rail the project.

Min­is­ter Chimene said had con­stituency only has four trac­tors.

VP Mnan­gagwa said farm­ers could also ap­proach the Dis­trict De­vel­op­ment Fund to be as­sisted with trac­tors for tillage. her

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