via Zhanda slams “useless” workers – The Zimbabwean. 24 September 2015 by Pamenus Tuso
The deputy minister of Agriculture, Paddy Zhanda, has questioned the logic of employing more agricultural extension workers when maize production yields continue to plummet following the chaotic land “reform” programme.
Speaking at the commissioning of Zhulube Irrigation scheme Aquaculture project in Insiza district last week, Zhanda said before the land “reform” each ward in the country was manned by one extension worker – but since then government has hired five extension workers for every ward.
The minister argued that instead of adding more value to the agricultural sector, the employment of more extension workers resulted in poorer maize yields. “In 1995/ 1996 Zimbabwe used to produce 2, 6 million tonnes of maize and 1, 6 million tonnes of that come from communal farmers. At that point in time there was only one extension officer per ward and our yield was two tonnes per hectare. Now the yield has gone to 0,085 per hectare with five extension officers per ward. One wonders if this was a wise decision by government,” said Zhanda.
He also criticised what he described as misuse of land and water resources. “We as Zimbabweans are bad users of land and water. Go to other countries, one hectare is enough. You go to countries like Indonesia and Thailand, they export rice – but they do it on very small plots and they get very high yields,” said Zhanda.
The outspoken Zanu (PF) Goromonzi North legislator also chided politicians for taking the electorate for granted. “We leaders when we are elected by people we take them for granted that they are our people. The other problem is because we want cheap votes from them we tell them lies. That’s very bad,” he said.
The Zhulube Aquaculture Project is part of the $4, 5 million European Commission-funded four-year “Integrated and Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture Production for Improved Food Security for Vulnerable Households in Zimbabwe”.