Abigail Mawonde Herald Correspondent
GOVERNMENT has extended its heifer distribution programme under Command Agriculture to six more provinces, in a move aimed at spreading economic empowerment to a majority of rural communities. This follows a successful launch of the programme in Matabeleland South by President Mnangagwa last month.
In a statement to The Herald yesterday, Deputy Chief Secretary and Chairman of the National Integrated Taskforce Mr Justin Mupamhanga said Government had decided to spread the programme.
“Government of Zimbabwe wishes to advise all the farmers that following the successful launch of the beef programme in Matabeleland South under Special Programme on Crops, Livestock Production and Wildlife by His Excellency, the President, Cde E.D. Mnangagwa, the heifer distribution will now extend to the other six rural provinces,” he said.
“At the official launch, His Excellency, Cde E.D Mnangagwa distributed 643 heifers to 151 beneficiaries in Matabeleland South and the programme is ongoing. The programme has benefited farmers from Matabeleland South and Matabeleland North.”
Mr Mupamhanga urged farmers interested in the programme to register with Agritex.
“Government has now decided that the beef programme should be started in the other six provinces for farmers to benefit,” he said.
“In this regard, farmers that are interested in joining the beef programme under the Command Agriculture programme should proceed as follows:
“Visit and register their interest at the nearest district AGRITEX office for them to be considered under the programme, produce proof of land ownership in the form of title deeds or offer letter or permit or lease agreement. All farmers will be considered in the following farming categories, that is, A1, Communal, Old Resettlement, A2 and Large Scale Commercial Farms (LSCF).”
Mr Mupamhanga outlined the distribution pattern.
“Old Resettlement, Communal and A1 will receive three to four heifers,” he said. “A2 and LSCF will receive five to 10 heifers. Repayment period for beneficiaries is five years after the date of issue at an interest rate of 4 percent. Command Agriculture activities remain voluntary and follow the principle of cost recovery.”
The Command Agriculture concept, which was spearheaded by President Mnangagwa, has been successful, ending years of poor harvests and acute food deficits in the country.
After its successful implementation in maize production, Government spread it to cover other crops like cotton and tobacco in a bid to boost productivity and earn the country foreign currency through exports.
The Command Agriculture concept has now been extended to cover livestock production, wildlife and fisheries.