Tawanda Mangoma in CHIREDZI
The Zanu-PF leadership here has exhorted beneficiaries of land reform to up their production levels in line with President Mnangagwa’s vision for Zimbabwe to attain upper middle income economy status by 2030.
Party provincial political commissar Cde Jevas Masosota last week said there was need for the province to leverage on its high dam density to produce food through irrigation.
Cde Masosota said the country could only realise its 2030 vision if it managed to attain food self-sufficiency through a shift from rain-fed crop production to irrigation.
He said Masvingo had the potential to be the country’s breadbasket.
“Our President is fighting hunger and poverty in communities through various empowerment projects,” said Cde Masosota.
“Others received land for agriculture, others received mines and all this was done to empower the locals.”
Cde Masosota said recurrent acute food shortages were supposed to be a thing of the past if everyone put their hands on the deck by working on the land.
“All farmers must utilise their pieces of land, be they A1 or A2 farmers because Government is giving them inputs,” he said. “We just have to turn the tables and utilise our pieces of land for the benefit of this country.
“Government is making sure that farmers are receiving inputs under the Presidential Free Inputs Scheme while others are into the Command Agriculture programme. These are schemes which are aimed at helping the farmers to up their production levels.”
Cde Masosota warned that over-reliance on donor funds was unsustainable, hence the need to work extra hard to achieve food self-sufficiency.
“Our country has what it takes to be self-sustainable in food production. We cannot rely on food handouts from non-governmental organisations which in turn spread the winds of regime change,” he said.
“Our dams are full, hence the need for those with irrigable land to utilise their pieces of land to the maximum.”
Cde Masosota cautioned against politicisation of food aid, saying every Zimbabwean deserved assistance irrespective of political affiliation.
“As the ruling party, we are behind the provision of food aid to all Zimbabweans without looking at their political affiliation,” he said.
“We want all Zimbabweans to have food and no one will be denied access to food on political grounds.”
Masvingo has many water bodies which are idle, while many areas being perennially ravaged by drought.
Meanwhile, farmers who use irrigation have been urged to venture into commercial fodder production to ensure enough supplementary feed for their livestock in the event of a drought, reports Sydney Mubaiwa in ZAKA
Addressing some of the contracted farmers at Fuve-Panganai Irrigation Scheme recently, Zaka District livestock development officer Mr Esau Mutuzungari said most farmers in the district lost their livestock, especially cattle during previous droughts, leaving them without draught power.
The call comes as hybrid seed producer Zimbabwe Super Seeds has already contracted 500 farmers at the irrigation scheme to venture into fodder production.
“As the Livestock Production Department, we recorded a lot of cattle deaths during recent droughts,” said Mr Mutuzungari.
“As such, we have embarked on an awareness campaign for farmers, including those under irrigation farming, urging them to grow fodder crops as a corrective measure to curb livestock deaths due to droughts.”
Zaka District is a dry area which falls under Natural Region IV and receives an average annual rainfall of 600mm or less.
About 870 cattle died during the period from 2016 to 2017 in the district due to food shortages, according to Mr Mutuzungari.
Zaka Central legislator Cde Davison Svuure said production of fodder for livestock supplementary feed would augment ongoing efforts to rebuild the district’s beef herd.
“At the moment we don’t have enough funding to do the project (fodder production) alone, but for a start we have the Zimbabwe Super Seeds which has contracted our farmers into that lucrative venture to avoid livestock loss,” he said.
We are engaging banks to assist such farmers with loans as they will use cattle as their collateral security.”
Fodder is a type of crop used as supplementary feed for livestock production.
Examples of such crops include velvet beans, cow peas and sunflower.