FIVE-THOUSAND highly productive irrigated farms countrywide will receive full contract farming support, including adequate fuel and uninterrupted power supply under the Government’s Agricultural Recovery Plan.
In addition, about 1,6 million vulnerable households will be put under a climate-proofed Presidential Input Support Scheme so they can grow enough food, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga said yesterday in a speech read on his behalf by Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri at a field day at President Mnangagwa’s Precabe Farm in Kwekwe.
VP Chiwenga, who was the Guest of Honour, said the Second Republic prioritised agriculture and food security.
The Government, he said, was introducing measures to enable the country reclaim its status as the breadbasket of southern Africa.
Under the recovery plan, VP Chiwenga said targeted irrigation farms will receive constant fuel and uninterrupted power supply.
“Allow me to highlight that Cabinet has approved a recovery plan to boost agricultural productivity,” he said. “The recovery plan is premised on key components that include the financial services sector-led commercial contract farming programme targeting 5 000 highly productive farmers in irrigated areas.”
The programme, which is set to be rolled out in the 2020-21 farming season, will have a commodity value chain financing model.
It will also have uninterrupted power supply and soil conditioning programmes. A pre-planting producer price will be announced.
A Lowveld maize belt covering Masvingo, Bulawayo and Kanyemba will see Zimbabwe having summer and winter maize production. VP Chiwenga said land clearing was underway for the Lowveld maize belt and urged farmers and the corporate world to invest in the programme.
“This belt can be targeted for feeding the industry with raw materials and the surplus, after industrial requirements have been met, will be for export,” he said.
VP Chiwenga said the Government was moving to capacitate extension officers, and was speeding up its irrigation development programme.
Under the Irrigation Development Programme, there will be a quick-fix and full-kit approach.
Quick-fix involves rehabilitation of non-functional irrigation schemes, while full-kit involves establishing new irrigation infrastructure, taking advantage of the many water bodies in Zimbabwe.
VP Chiwenga urged farmers to emulate the First Family’s full use of the land.
“We have all seen what the First Family is doing at their farm, embracing modern day farming methods that adapt to the new climatic changes,” he said.
“We must all strive to achieve this full utilisation of land. I wish to underscore that Zimbabwe needs to regain its breadbasket status on the African continent. This can only be achieved by us all dedicating our expertise towards achievement of the deliveries under the Recovery Plan.”
VP Chiwenga said there was need to change farming methods in accordance to the prevailing climatic conditions, and the Government’s Agriculture Recovery Plan was aimed at achieving that.
He praised President Mnangagwa for being exemplary by walking-the-talk on production.
“The President is on record talking production,” he said. “Let me take this opportunity to thank His Excellency the President and the First Lady Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa for being torch-bearers in this exciting field of farming.
“I am confident that this event will inspire us as farmers, both smallholder and commercial, to follow the pace they have set.”
The First Family has 400 hectares under maize, 200 hectares of soyabeans, five hectares under sugar beans and 12,5 hectares under potatoes.
They are expecting between 12 and 15 tonnes of maize per hectare.