Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa will today deliver a public lecture on Command Agriculture at Midlands State University in Gweru — the first of its kind, unpacking Government’s specialised grain production programme at an institution of higher learning.
The Acting President’s office confirmed the lecture yesterday. “The Acting President will deliver a public lecture on Command Agriculture at the Midlands State University on Wednesday 10 May,” read a statement from his office.
Buoyed by good rains, the Command Agriculture programme and the Presidential Inputs Scheme have reconfigured the country’s agricultural sector and are set to spur employment in various sectors.
Midlands Provincial Affairs Minister Cde Jason Machaya told The Herald yesterday that the MSU public lecture by Acting President Mnangagwa was not an ordinary presentation, as it was coming in the wake of remarkable output registered under the scheme.
Cde Machaya said the public lecture would provide the country’s national leadership an opportunity to impart their vision on Command Agriculture and other projects likely to be implemented under Command Economy to students. “We are looking forward to that lecture because Command Agriculture has been a huge success,” said Cde Machaya.
“It has been a success in the sense that it empowered farmers in terms of inputs and they managed to utilise bigger hectarage. “As such it created employment in the field and more jobs are going to be created for those who work for the Grain Marketing Board.
“I am told they have since started to recall some of their former employees. “For instance here in Midlands, the GMB has set 441 collection depots and quite a number of people are going to be employed.
“The 441 collection depots will feed into 10 main GMB storage depots in the province, which is another plus for those in the transporting sector.
“Given this background, the MSU lecture will give the national leadership an opportunity to walk the students through their vision and where we are going as a country. It is indeed an interesting subject.”
Cde Machaya said apart from grain production, Command Agriculture was now focusing on winter wheat and livestock production, making it an economic game changer.
In its first year of implementation, the Command Agriculture programme, together with Presidential Input Scheme, exceeded the targeted two million tonnes of grain.
Initial assessments are already pointing to a bumper harvest in excess of three million tonnes for this season.
The specialised programme is being implemented over a three-year period, with a view to ensuring national food self- sufficiency.
Addressing the Zanu-PF Central Committee meeting recently, President Mugabe said Command Agriculture would be Zanu-PF’s trump card ahead of next year’s harmonised elections.
As part of ensuring wholesome changes in the agricultural sector, Government recently announced that it would also soon embark on another agricultural programme called Super Agriculture that would put swathes of idle land countrywide under crops following the success of Command Agriculture.
Under the Super Agriculture Programme, areas like the Zambezi Valley, Chiredzi and Tokwe Mukosi in Masvingo will be fully utilised.