Govt seeks foreign funding for Command Agriculture
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