via Agric motion stirs heated Parly debate – NewsDay Zimbabwe July 23, 2014 by Veneranda Langa
A MOTION moved by Zanu PF MPs calling on the government to promulgate proper agricultural policies stirred a heated debate when MDC-T MPs blamed the ruling party supporters of strangling the sector by abusing free inputs they received from government.
Bindura South MP Toendepi Remigious Matangira (Zanu PF) sparked the debate when he said there should be a policy to command that 50% of agricultural activities should be maize farming to ensure food security.
“Government should establish a yearly strategic food reserve production including livestock and that government should plan now and have inputs available in June for the summer 2014/15 season and not in November,” Matangira said.
“We should have a policy on agricultural financing and support from banks for meaningful production and request fertiliser and seed companies to lend fertiliser and seed to farmers, both rural and communal, the cost of which is to be repaid after the harvest.” .
Buhera South MP Joseph Chinotimba seconded the motion and blasted the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) making farmers to pay for water usage.
“The Zambezi River draws its water from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zinwa is not paying the country for that water and yet they charge farmers for using the water,” Chinotimba said.
“White farmers never used to be charged for using electricity and water, but we went to war and are made to pay for water and electricity. We should have granaries in the country, but those granaries should be filled with grain and land should also be allocated to opposition supporters so that they see the importance of inputs.”
Zaka Central MP Paradzai Chakona (Zanu PF) said farming should be supported by fertiliser companies and banks, adding that the fresh wave of farm invasions should stop in order to promote food security.
The Zanu PF MPs also said there should be a policy to ensure that the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) was made the sole buyer of all maize grain.
However, Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya (MDC-T) blamed his Zanu PF counterparts of crippling the agricultural sector.
“The very same people who were given land are failing to utilise it. Farming is a business which needs support from banking institutions. We agree the land question is not reversible, but we must support it by giving title deeds to make land bankable,” Chikwinya said.
Southerton MP Gift Chimanikire (MDC-T) added: “The GMB cannot be the sole buyer of maize because they failed before. There was indeed supply of free fertiliser and seed, but all these facilities were abused.”