Gvt pins hope on command agriculture programme

Government remains optimistic that the command agriculture programme will alleviate hunger in the country.

The command agriculture programme is a $500 million project  which is meant to ensure maize self-sufficiency  at the same time aiming to produce two million tonnes of maize on 400 000 hectares of land.

Speaking at a stakeholder’s meeting in Harare recently , Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa who is also chairperson for the Food Security Committee, said the programme guarantees food security if masses help in its implementation.

“If people work with government in implementing this programme, nzara ichapera zvekuti ikaona kuti munhu uyo mu Zimbabwean inotiza, (if this programme succeeds, we will never witness hunger again in Zimbabwe).

“We have realised that Zimbabwe has the potential to produce its own food and possibly for exports in terms of grain production. We have the land and people who work very hard,” said Vice President Mnangagwa.

The programme comes in the wake of the 2016 Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Report (ZIMVAC) which highlights that national food security has risen from an average of 12% to as high as 42% where as many as 4 million Zimbabweans are likely to be food insecure.

Vice president Mnangagwa also said that no farmer will be forced to cooperate in the programme.

“We will not force anyone to go into the programme, but we  welcome anyone who wants to work with the government in making this command agriculture scheme initiative a success.

“Stakeholders, both public and private sectors must help in the implementation of the programme,” he said

The chairperson for the Food Security Committee also said preparations for the command agriculture programme which was recently announced by the government  are at an advanced stage as stakeholders have expressed their zeal to work with government.

“Now we have engaged seed houses, fertilizer and chemical companies which is a step forward in ensuring the success of the programme,which we are looking forward to start this summer,” he said

The programme is a strategy to work on a disaster risk reduction measure for the farming season 2016/ 17 and subsequent seasons.

The new scheme targets farmers near water bodies who can put a minimum of 200 hectares under maize per person.