Pamela Shumba, Senior Reporter
THE First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe has hailed the command agriculture programme for boosting the country’s economy and creating jobs for locals.
Dr Mugabe toured the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) yesterday and said she was impressed with the commitment shown by exhibitors.
She was accompanied by Namibia’s First Lady Mrs Monica Geingos, Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko’s wife Mrs Laurinda Mphoko, the Minister of Industry and Commerce Dr Mike Bimha and his deputy Cde Chiratidzo Mabuwa, the Minister of State for Bulawayo provincial affairs Cde Nomthandazo Moyo and her daughter Mrs Bona Mugabe Chikore.
Speaking after the tour, Dr Mugabe said the Government had done well by introducing Command Agriculture as it would go a long way in improving food security and boosting the economy.
“I’m impressed with all these efforts and I would like to urge the peoples of Zimbabwe to continue working hard. We have the required resources to grow sufficient food for ourselves. I’m proud of Zimbabweans because they work hard and they’re not cry babies. I believe that one day we’ll make it and become the bread basket of Africa again,” said Dr Mugabe.
“I can see things have really changed from last year and the attendance is overwhelming. If Zimbabweans continue with this determination we’ll certainly win.
“I can see the winning ways that people are putting in place in terms of manufacturing and boosting production in the agricultural sector. With the Command Agriculture programme in place, we’re assured of a bumper harvest this year,” said Dr Mugabe.
She commended Cairns Foods, which had become defunct, for reviving its operations. “I personally went to Cashel Valley in Manicaland province to ensure that we resuscitate the production of their products. I’m happy that they’re now back on the market and producing various products. A number of their products, which had disappeared are back on the shelves.
“I’m delighted that the Ministry of Industry and Commerce is financially supporting the manufacturing industry to revive the economy. It’s not just about selling products but creation of employment,” said Dr Mugabe.
Mrs Geingos said she was impressed with the high quality of locally manufactured goods exhibited at the ZITF.
“This shows that the import substitution policy is working. What’s clear to us is that Zimbabweans are enterprising, innovative and resilient people,” she said.
The First Ladies visited among other stands; Cairns Foods, Datlabs, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, the National University of Science and Technology, Alpha Omega Dairy and the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, where the deputy Minister Dr Godfrey Gandawa highlighted some of their programmes.
They also visited Unilever, Tanganda Tea Company, Botswana, ZimTrade, South Africa, Namibia and the Command Agriculture stands. At the Zanu-PF stand, the First Ladies met the party’s secretary for administration Cde Ignatius Chombo and the Minister of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development Cde Nyasha Chikwinya.
They also met War Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Former Political Detainees and Restrictees Minister Rtd Col Tshinga Dube and his Permanent Secretary Brigadier General Asher Walter Tapfumaneyi.
Roman Catholic Sisters from the Missionary Sisters of Precious Blood, who are housed within the Zanu-PF stand, welcomed First Ladies and their delegation with a song.