From Walter Nyamukondiwa in ALASKA
Farmers should this selling season prioritise delivering their maize to the Grain Marketing Board and opening bank accounts to facilitate easy transactions since they will be assured of instant payment, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.
Speaking during a tour of Pamene Farm in Alaska, Mashonaland West Province, yesterday, VP Mnangagwa said the success of Command Agriculture would not be complete without money to pay farmers.
“We have now entered a phase where farmers will not have to wait months after delivering maize to be paid,” he said.
“You get your money as soon as you deliver your grain.”
“We are now calling on farmers to open bank accounts. We want to be very fast and it’s easier to distribute money through the banking system.”
VP Mnangagwa said in the event that someone wanted to be paid cash, a special arrangement would be made. He said the same payment model being applied on cotton and tobacco where farmers were having their money deposited in bank accounts would apply to the maize crop.
VP Mnangagwa said Command Agriculture was a voluntary programme with the command element being the mobilisation of resources, expert generated quantities of inputs and targets.
“We are happy as Government with the enthusiasm shown by Zimbabweans in embracing Command Agriculture,” he said. “It’s success shows that where there is unity of purpose, God endorses by releasing more rains.
“Its called Command Agriculture, but no one is forced to join. People join on their own volition.”
VP Mnangagwa hailed Johanne Marange church led by St Noah Taguta for supporting Government programmes.
Pamene Farm, which is run by the Johanne Marange Church, has put 100 hectares maize under Command Agriculture.
At least 505 hectares are under various crops including soya beans, horticultural produce and livestock, with plans to add a further 200ha.
VP Mnangagwa challenged the church to commit all the land to Command Agriculture this season.
The call to deliver maize to GMB was reiterated by Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made.
“We want all the maize you have as farmers delivered to GMB,” he said. “It doesn’t matter that you produced the grain under Command Agriculture or any other arrangement. Maize will be bought at $390 per tonne.”
Dr Made said all cereals should be taken to the GMB to boost the strategic grain reserve. This, he said, was being done in line with the trajectory of import substitution being pursued by Government.
Dr Made said, this would be useful in the event that government decides to extend the five percent incentive, which is being enjoyed by tobacco and cotton farmers, to maize.
Farm manager Mr Philip Taguta thanked Government for introducing Command Agriculture before calling for more support to boost irrigation at the farm.