Govt hails progress in Com­mand Agric scheme

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Tendai Mu­gabe Se­nior Re­porter

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.

Mr Mu­pamhanga

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