No need to import maize | The Herald

via Editorial comment: No need to import maize | The Herald January 4, 2014

What has made zanu-PF a formidable political party is its undoubted ability to work for the people, stand by them and with them in good and bad times. Its policies resonate with the generality of the people.

This is why a Zanu-PF-led Government has always been the first choice for Zimbabweans. It is a Government that understands the needs and wants of the people and strives hard to live up to their expectations and indeed, for the Government, failure is not an option.

When indicators of food shortages started showing, Government sprung to action fast and set in motion a programme to import grain from neighbouring countries, something any administration with the interests of the people at heart should do.

When it became apparent that our agriculture would not perform to the expected production levels owing to erratic rainfall pattern in some parts of the country and possible famine in others, Government immediately made provision to import 150 000 tonnes of maize from Zambia to avert starvation.

While maize imports from Zambia are trickling into the country, Government’s commitment to guaranteeing national food security has seen it importing an additional 150 000 tonnes of maize from South Africa and these imports should go some-way towards alleviating food shortages until the next harvest in April.

It is important to note that it was always a hassle getting money released for the national cause during the subsistence of the inclusive Government when MDC-T controlled the national purse. This was so because there were people in Government who did not understand that political parties drew their power from the people and that the people are the common denominator in the rise and fall of governments.

While we appreciate the speed with which Government moves when it comes to dealing with matters of national food security, we remain convinced there is no need to import maize, especially for a country that empowered its people not only with the land, but with the tools to work on the land — machinery and implements.

Nearly 300 000 families were resettled under land reform on arable land that was previously occupied by less than 4 000 white farmers.
Just taking into account that statistic, we conclude that barring severe drought, there is no reason whatsoever we should be importing maize when we were once renowned as net exporters of grain.

Apart from the drought that has hit some parts of the country, the other major problem that has faced our agriculture is funding, with farmers struggling to get loans from banks.

As a result farmers have faced insurmountable challenges to buy inputs given their prohibitive costs.
The almost US$800 million that banks said they had set aside for farmers has been difficult to access because of the stringent collateral security requirements.

Agriculture, and particularly food security, has been identified in Zim-Asset as among the key pillars for turning around the economy.
That economic explosion can only be achieved if money is put into agriculture without stringent conditions.

We are of the view that Government should take full responsibility for ensuring agriculture does not catch a cold by funding farmers between now and 2018, otherwise in the absence of direct Government involvement this critical sector will continue sneezing.

It would do Government a lot of good to come up with another national inputs scheme, modelled along the one introduced around 2002 and administered through the Grain Marketing Board in which farmers would access inputs and repay them via a stop order system.

We have no doubt in our minds that our farmers can easily produce enough maize for consumption and export if they are given inputs in time.

There is nothing wrong in demanding that all beneficiaries of land reform should grow at least two hectares of maize, in addition to other cash crops and this way we would be able to achieve food self-sufficiency.

It is a fact that irrigation is very key to crop production and it would certainly do Government no harm to rehabilitate all irrigation infrastructure across the country for long term national benefit.

 

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 10
  • comment-avatar
    Clifford Chitupa Mashiri 8 years ago

    Honestly, is the partisan Herald suicidal?

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    isn’t it ironic that less than 4000 could feed the country & beyond & more than 300000 can’t even feed themselves?now we go to Zambia to buy maize produced by the very same pple we chased here

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    tsaona 8 years ago

    Herald, the boring part is you praise your boss too much and you are running away from the facts of the matter. The truth is your government has failed on its food security programmes. Period. You blame banks for not providing loans to our new farmers but since 2000 Mugabe has been providing inputs to these pple on yearly basis and l don’t remember anyone repaying those loans not because Mugabe was giving them for free but they would have failed to produce. So how do you expect banks to do the same when they want to make profit. They are in bussiness so they have to look for a competant farmer. Where is Agribank today?? Giving farmers inputs in time doesn’t warranty best yield. Its the expertise and technical knowledge that counts. For instance l can start my farming on 1st of January and still have a better yied. But most of these guys when you give them inputs they sell 3 quartes and use remainder. Most of them they are lazy and you find them drinking Kachasu on a Monday morning. How do you expect production from such a farmer. Some will even instruct their boys using cellphones whilst having their time with their smallhouses. Yes, we are poor but l feel there is lack of commitment, honest, hardworking and skill in our farmimg. Only a few are managing bumber harvests. Our government should be commited to pay its producers in time so that one can prepare for next seoson without a hustle. Irrigation should be a priority to newly settled farmers. Most of their farms have dams which are being underutilised. The funny part, some of them have since been destroyed and you find EMMA claiming to be at work charging exobitant penalty fees for using plastics in shops and butcheries. Chigovernment chenyu vamunyori ngachitipe maserious. Chimbomirai zvekuda kukwidzana mundege yemashanga mushandure mamiriro ezvinhu nekutaura chokwadi chinodiwa kumanew farmers kwete kunyepera vanhu kuti no need to import food ivo vanhu vachifa nenzara. Murikurimisa nyika nzara nenhema dzenyu.

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    Murimi Wanhasi 8 years ago

    When we imported maize in 1992,had the white farmers left?
    U cant expect all new farmers to succeed,but acknowledge that some are now getting it right.
    Do we have to import now? Yes.Why?U think its incompetence,where do u think all the “displaced” farmworkers are?are zimbos only hardworkers when changing nappies?The reasons are erratic rains & lack of support with proper accountability.
    nb. we r not all maize farmers

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      munzwa 8 years ago

      And sanctions, please please don’t forget the sanctions…

    • comment-avatar
      Jrr56 8 years ago

      ERR in 1992 there was a scandal about some minister that sold (for a song) the strategic grain reserves of the country. Smart governments ensure food security. This one doesn’t and then uses it in partisan politics.

      This is the Herald trying to re-write history again. Moyo at his best.

  • comment-avatar

    Probably the best rubbish I have read in ages.!!!!!!!!! Yeah the bumper rains will bring bumper crops. My big foot. By mid year will be theusualdrought sanctions mantra. Worst govt in the world

  • comment-avatar

    Mugabedog land being fed by the west and u.n.look at the obscene bellies of the criminals and their muroyi relatives

  • comment-avatar
    Murimi 8 years ago

    Here goes our fool. Does not even know his facts. Grain stores were emptied by corrupt ministers in 1992 you bloody fool

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    What an a”maize”ing load of garbage, what an embarassment the “national” newspaper is! If it wasn’t reported on here no-one would have read it!