Source: Command Agric locally funded — Mnangagwa | The Herald December 30, 2016
Elita Chikwati and Julia Mugadzaweta —
Zimbabwean firms, which have become part of the solutions to the country’s challenges, are behind funding for Command Agriculture, Acting President Mnangagwa said yesterday during a tour of some farms in Mashonaland Central Province.
The programme required $515 million to enable farmers to grow 400 000 hectares of maize and produce two million tonnes to ensure adequate food supply and replenish the Strategic Grain Reserves.
However, Government ended up receiving offers of nearly $1 billion. Briefing farmers on the progress made to date, Cde Mnangagwa said Command Agriculture was a success because of the support it received from both local input suppliers and local funders.
“After making plans for Command Agriculture, we realised we required $515 million. We had nowhere to get the money as we only had a plan. We had two options, to look for a loan from our friends outside the country and from within. Our first priority was to appeal to our people in Zimbabwe and we received an overwhelming response. We received offers of more than the required amount.
“The banking sector immediately offered $300 million, but wanted a 12 percent interest and National Social Security Authority brought $20 million and a good interest, Sakunda $264 million and good interest and others from within Zimbabwe brought forward their offers but with abnormal interest rates. We received nearly $1 billion wholly from within Zimbabwe only,” he said.
Acting President Mnangagwa said Government considered funders whose interest rates were low and viable for the agriculture sector.
“When we sat down, we first accepted Sakunda’s offer followed by NSSA. Those from the financial services sector split, with others clinging to high interest rates while others reduced them. We only accepted the banks whose interest charges were viable,” he said.
The Acting President applauded all stakeholders in the agriculture industry, including millers, seed houses, fertiliser companies, chemical suppliers, farmers unions and ministries for working together towards the successful implementation of Command Agriculture.
“We were not aware that all these companies; seed houses, fertiliser companies, banks and others were very cooperative. These stakeholders were willing to work with Government for the success of the programme.
“Seed and fertiliser companies agreed to give us the required amounts of inputs as they were guaranteed of getting their money. Now the companies are working 24 hours to ensure adequate supplies,” he said.
Acting President Mnangagwa said inputs suppliers used to demand cash upfront for them to release inputs but this time they agreed to supply despite the money they were owed by Government.
He said the support received from stakeholders saw the area being put under maize doubling and this explained the increase in demand for fertiliser.
“Millers have already indicated that they are willing to buy 800 000 tonnes from the two million tonnes projected under command farming.
“Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe has promised to buy the maize and pay timely using internal funds.
“All these things require dialogue and networking; our people want our nation to develop and be successful. Imi mukasada kusimuka nyika ichasimuka ichikusiyai. Kuti muibate munotozobhadhara, ” he said.