Lawrence Chitumba Mashonaland Central Correspondent
Minister of State for Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs Monica Mavhunga has urged farmers who got money from the Command Agriculture Programme to repay the loans to facilitate rotation of the funds.
She said the programme, which was introduced by the Government to support farmers to produce maize, wheat, soyabeans and livestock, has contributed to increased agricultural production in the province and the country at large.
Speaking during the Mashonaland Central Agricultural Show last weekend, Cde Mavhunga said Government had directed officials from the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement to assess the level of land utilisation by A2 farmers.
She said those found to be underutilising land allocated to them will have their plots downsized.
“The Zimbabwe Government introduced the special programme for import substitution (command agriculture) to support farmers to produce maize, wheat, soya beans and livestock,” said Minister Mavhunga.
“This programme was well received in the province and that has contributed to increased agricultural production. I would like to urge those who borrowed from Command Agriculture programme to pay back so that it becomes sustainable.
“Zimbabwe Government will continue supporting farmers under the following programmes; command agriculture, presidential input scheme (free inputs), joint ventures, mechanisation equipment (through Agribank) and irrigation.
“The minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement has directed his officials to assess the level of land utilisation by our A2 farmers. If you are not utilising land allocated to you, Government is going to down size your plots so that others can benefit as well.”
Minister Mavhunga said although the province did not experience a good 2018/19 season, four districts namely, Mazowe, Bindura, Guruve and Muzarabani, managed to produce enough to feed its people and have a surplus of 21 000 metric tonnes for sale.
She said a total of 1 602 farmers had registered for command livestock, but a few people had received their cattle because the programme was slow.
She urged the financiers to speed up in paying for the cattle so that farmers did not lose interest.