Source: We’ll continue backing Command Agric: Firms | The Herald January 29, 2018
Elita Chikwati Senior Agriculture Reporter
The private sector has pledged to continue supporting the Command Agriculture Programme under the new dispensation. This is in response to Government calls on stakeholders in the industry to unite and work together to ensure food security, revive industry and create employment among other things. This came out at the belated Command Agriculture Christmas party in Harare on Saturday.
The party was attended by senior Government officials and members of the private sector, including seed houses, fertiliser manufactures and financiers among others. Addressing stakeholders at the party, Secretary for Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Mr Ringson Chitsiko, said Zimbabweans should unite and work as team to ensure national food security.
“There is no private or public sector, we only observe a national perspective. Each time the then Vice President who is now the President Emmerson Mnangagwa stood to speak about Command Agriculture he always referred to one issue; that is Zimbabwe should not import grain.
“That is why I am saying we no longer talk about private sector or public sector, we only talk of a Zimbabwean team that is charged with the responsibility to make sure that there is adequate food for our nation.
“Indeed in that process we are aware that industrial raw materials will be produced, jobs would be created, foreign currency will be earned primarily and this nation should never be a nation of beggars going very far into the future,” he said.
Mr Chitsiko commended all stakeholders for working hard last season in producing a bumper harvest and urged farmers not to despair due to the current erratic rains. He said there was need to ensure supplementary supply of water to crops and also need for authorities to plan ahead in terms of irrigation facilities.
“Right now we sit here to look at and rejoice over what we achieved as a team. Now that we have a seasonal challenge, let our spirits not be dampened. “It’s time for everybody to put themselves into a higher gear because the traction is a little harder. The private sector and farmers must now command all the other resources to make sure that there is supplementary application of water to our maize crop.
“We hear that in the next week the Lord may bless us with some showers but let us plan for the unthinkable and take necessary action,” he said.
“I will remind you all of the charge of President that it beholds every Zimbabwean to make sure that this country does not only retain its food basket status but is food sufficient. Let none of us be found wanting. We are all one team and each one of us according to our ability should work hard,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the private sector, Mr Allen Manhanga expressed gratitude to Government for coming up with the idea of Agriculture which he said was going to revive the industry, create jobs and ensure national food security.
He said the private sector was willing to continue working with Government under Command Agriculture. “We thank the Government for coming up with idea of Command Agriculture. We are happy as stakeholders to be associated with this noble idea. We are all chief stakeholders in the sense that we supplied inputs to this programme to make it a success.
“We want to acknowledge the good work that we all did as a team in the past season, which resulted in a bumper harvest. We all know that our granaries are full and we are looking forward to another great season if God blesses us with rains,” he said.
Mr Manhanga said the private sector was willing to continue supporting command agriculture in the new dispensation and ensure other bumper seasons. “It is important that we support Command Agriculture for the industry to survive. We need to need to make sure we provide inputs while at the same time we secure jobs for our people. In this new dispensation where the President is emphasising on results oriented performance, we need to work hard and provide results.
“It is no longer time to talk but delivering results. We stand here as stakeholders to assure Government that we are here to support you,” he said.