Perspective, Stephen Mpofu
THE sky is the limit, as it were, for any agreement with leaders driven by commodity thought processes in their endeavours to boost their country’s social and economic status and with that the lives of the people who look to these servants for a brave new future for all.
After suffering for many years after a blitzkrieg of illegal Western economic sanctions to bring about regime change and reverse land reform by the Zanu-PF government, Zimbabwe’s economy looks set to bounce off the rut and into reckoning with other buoyant African economies, thanks to two pioneering initiatives that have just seen the light of day.
Command Agriculture, initiated by the government last year is already a resounding success story that will see an end to food shortages and to grain imports so that the money saved will be channelled to other agricultural initiatives.
Command Livestock, just announced by the government, is set to catapult the country back to its lucrative beef export which saw 14 000 tonnes being achieved in the year 1999.
A $150 million livestock programme is being rolled out by the government in Matabeleland, the country’s prime cattle rearing region, as well as in Masvingo province, the Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, Dr Joseph Made, announced recently.
Already 600 000 livestock farmers in the targeted provinces are reportedly stacking hay and paddocking in readiness for the initiative that will give participants a new lease of life following a recent drought that decimated livestock and food crops in many parts of the country.
With scarce job opportunities in urban areas now a reality as a result of sanctions which shut down factories and other employment providers, Command Livestock could see a reversed urban drift as well as an end to Zimbabweans leaving to seek employment in neighbouring countries where they have run into xenophobic and other, anti-alien attitudes.
With Command Agriculture begetting Command Livestock, so to speak, is the time not most opportune now for Command Minerals extraction to breeze into both the local as well as the foreign market focus?
According to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, the concept command is defined among other things as taking “control, mastery, possession” of something.
What the above definition suggests is that Command Agriculture or Command Livestock are processes that are well-thought out with requisite resources laid on for the success of the exercise in point.
Set against this background, it is not untruthful to say that mineral exploitation in Zimbabwe by the so-called omakorokoza, or gold panners, for instance, is decidedly haphazard with the environment, water sources for instance being casualties, not to mention losses to the fiscus through mineral leakages that deprive Fidelity Printers of minerals that are smuggled out of the country.
To begin with, not all omakorokoza possess requisite expertise in mining and, as such any new mineral extraction programme will provide these miners with skills and proper equipment in addition to other resources for an efficient exploitation of the expansive mineral wealth that has made a top United States research firm also rank Zimbabwe after Nigeria and Kenya as offering the best return on investment with the best economic outlook on the continent over the next three years.
The research company boasts 500 corporate subscribers.
Diamonds and gold top a long list of Zimbabwe’s mineral wealth which has made Zimbabwe a dream destination for foreign fortune seekers some of whom reportedly have blued diamonds out of the country with no financial return for Zimbabwe.
A Command Mining programme run along the lines of Command Agriculture and Command Livestock will shame the prophets of doom by bringing the economy of our country back to an even keel, if not to the top of Africa’s economic rankings, what with the level of education that makes Zimbabweans the most literate nation on the African continent.
Furthermore, command mining will no doubt bring order and sanity to an informal gold mining sector that is riven by intermittent wars between miners.
No doubt the Command concept of doing things will highlight other sectors of the economy for closer attention to give our country the status of a quasi-developed nation.
It is to be hoped that the harmonised elections next year will create a more enabling environment for a broadening of the Command concept of growing our country’s economy for the good of all.