Half a billion dollars for Command Agric

Source: Half a billion dollars for Command Agric | The Herald July 5, 2017

Walter Nyamukondiwa and Sydney Kawadza—
Government has mobilised $600 million to fund Command Agriculture and the Presidential Inputs Support Scheme in the next summer cropping season, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has revealed. Addressing farmers and Government officials during a tour of Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depots in Mashonaland West Province yesterday, VP Mnangagwa said the funds were already available.

He visited GMB depots at Lion’s Den, Banket and Chegutu.

“We have sourced $154 million for the Presidential Inputs Support Scheme so that more families would be included in the programme,” VP Mnangagwa told farmers and extension officers at Chegutu GMB depot.

“This amount is more than double what we had for the scheme last season.”
Government used $30 million for the Presidential Inputs Support Scheme last season.

VP Mnangagwa said funds for the Command Agriculture Programme had also been doubled for next season.
“We used $162 million in the previous season, but we have $487 million for the Command Agriculture programme,” he said.

“We have the land, we have the resources. What we are now looking for are the farmers to take part in the programmes.”
VP Mnangagwa said the funds were coming from Government’s partners.

He indicated that distribution of inputs for both programmes would start this month to avoid delays in land preparations.
VP Mnangagwa also said grain deliveries to GMB had doubled from the same period last year.

Most depots are overwhelmed with deliveries, amid indications the GMB is introducing a 24-hour shift to handle the increased deliveries.

VP Mnangagwa is touring GMB depots on a fact-finding mission following reports of workers rejecting grain for alleged high moisture content. The same grain is reportedly finding its way to informal traders for lesser than the gazetted price of $390 who later deliver the same load to GMB, prejudicing farmers.

VP Mnangagwa said saboteurs of the agriculture revival programme would be dealt with in terms of the law.

“Zvino tikawana mwana weZimbabwe anopinga ndare nyaya iyi tinomuita sei? Tine musoja wedu ku prisons, Major General Zimondi, anotichengetera majeri,” he said.

“Kana wapinga ndare chirongwa ichi unenge wafunga kuti ndoda kuenda kwavaZimondi. Kana ukaona kuti wapindwa nemweya iwoyo, muka ubike doro uti mudzimu wangu wava kundirasha. Ngazvizivikanwe kuti tinoita zvakanaka.”

VP Mnangagwa took the police to task for failure to act on the middlemen, commonly known as makoronyera.
He said teams had been dispatched to monitor all GMB depots to deal with corruption.

He acknowledged the congestion at GMB depots, adding this was understandable if it was legitimate, but not human engineered.

On moisture content challenges, VP Mnangagwa said Government would soon roll out dryers at all GMB depots to assist farmers to dry their grain on the spot.

“We are bringing in dryers to be set up at all GMB depots so that farmers do not have to take their grain back, but have it dried on the spot,” he said. “Our farmers will not resort to selling to middlemen. They are being ripped off.”

VP Mnangagwa’s visit across Zimbabwe is part of Government’s programme to assess maize deliveries to the GMB.

“Before the deliveries began, we had been informed that most of the GMB sites were not in a good condition, so we raised funds from the grain millers to upgrade and refurbish these sites throughout the country,” he said.

“We are now assessing whether this has been achieved and also if there are any bottlenecks or challenges they are facing so that we can address those things.”
VP Mnangagwa is now expected to visit Matabelaland South.