Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
PRESIDENT Mugabe is expected to, next week, launch a fish project at Tokwe- Mukosi Dam in Masvingo that will see 1,6 million fingerlings being placed into the dam for the communities to start commercial fish farming.
In a presentation entitled “Command Agriculture in Zimbabwe: Myths, Lessons and Future” during a public lecture at the Midlands State University (MSU) yesterday, Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa said: “On May 19, President Mugabe is going to launch fish farming at Tokwe-Mukosi dam in Masvingo where 1,6 million fingerlings will be put in the dam. This will be a pilot project aimed at equipping the communities around the dam to start commercial fish farming,” he said.
Acting President Mnangagwa said from Masvingo, the fish farming drive will be taken to other provinces.
Government’s plan, he said, was to take fish farming down to districts throughout the country.
“So the other day I was in my office and the Minister of Water and Climate Cde Oppah Muchinguri said she wanted to introduce fish projects to every Zimbabwean. So that is what the Government is going to do. Committees will be set to oversee that the projects go on well. Every province will have its own launch [down to] all districts,” he said.
The Acting President said there was 26 000 hectares of irrigable land at Tokwe- Mukosi, which he said should be put to good use for the benefit of the communities and the country.
He said Government was also going to pay farmers as soon as they deliver maize to the Grain Marketing Board after securing $8 million funding from five local millers.
He said the funding will also be used to refurbish GMB silos and put in place extra holding places for the excess maize they were going to receive from farmers who participated in the Command Agriculture.
“It’s not business as usual. We got $8 million from five millers which will go towards paying the farmers who would have delivered their maize to GMB. The same amount will go towards refurbishing GMB silos, and new holding places. GMB silos have a capacity of holding up to 700 000 tonnes of maize and the rest (1,3 million tonnes) will be taken by millers as well as stored in new storage facilities that would be created,” said Acting President Mnangagwa.