Govt hails progress in Command Agric scheme
GOVERNMENT has expressed satisfaction with progress registered under Command Agriculture and has intensified monitoring of the scheme following reports that some farmers were selling inputs they received under the programme.
Further, Government is mobilising resources to deal with an outbreak of the fall armyworm that is threatening projected harvests under the special scheme.
Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Mr Justin Mupamhanga told The Herald yesterday that Government would not condone any abuse of the inputs and those who diverted them would soon be arraigned before the courts.
Government, Mr Mupamhanga said, was doing everything to support the farmers to meet the projected harvests.
“We are impressed with the pro- gress registered under the Command Agriculture Scheme so far and we are sure farmers will meet the projected yields,” he said.
“There is a concern, however, on the distribution and availability of ammonium nitrate, which is in short supply in some cases, but that is not going to affect our intended yields.
“We are monitoring the programme and this is an ongoing process because we hear that some farmers have sold the inputs given to them.
“Those who abused the inputs will soon be brought before the courts.”
Local firms, which have become part of the solution to the country’s challenges, funded the Command Agriculture to the tune of $515 million to enable farmers to grow 400 000 hectares of maize and produce two million tonnes required to ensure adequate food supply and replenish the Strategic Grain Reserves.
Convinced by the success achieved to date by the scheme, Government has now expanded the crop portfolio to include wheat and soya beans.
The move is expected to ensure total national food security.
Authorities are confident that Command Agriculture beneficiaries have potential to surpass the five tonnes per hectare in their contracts.
Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa recently reminded farmers that Command Agriculture was not a vote-buying gimmick ahead of 2018 harmonised elections and that they would be made to account for everything they received.
VP Mnangagwa said inputs availed to farmers were meant to ensure the country attained food self-sufficiency and that it would be unfortunate for anyone to think Government was playing politics.
He sa id fa rmer s pa r t ic ipating in t he scheme wou ld have to work hard to produce, as they would be held accountable.
Under Command Agriculture, Government made available seed, fertiliser, chemicals such as herbicides and pesticides and fuel to farmers.