19 600 farmers receive Command Agric inputs
Felex Share Senior Reporter
More than 19 600 farmers have so far received adequate inputs from Government’s specialised import substitution maize (Command Agriculture), the Zanu-PF Politburo heard yesterday.
Most farmers have started planting while others are intensifying land preparations.
Speaking after the Zanu-PF Politburo meeting in Harare yesterday, the party’s secretary for administration Cde Ignatius Chombo said the Command Agriculture programme had registered noteworthy progress.
“The Vice President and Second Secretary Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa reported that significant progress had been made in command agriculture,” he said.
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“At least 163 865 hectares of both irrigable and dry land are now under contract with 75 percent already having been tilled. As for farmers, 19 608 have benefited so far under command agriculture and have been given adequate inputs.”
A survey of provinces by The Herald early this week showed that all the farmers who have planted have irrigation facilities, while dry land farmers were either collecting inputs or finalising land preparations.
Said Cde Chombo: “Under this programme, 2 658 agricultural extension workers and 91 000 farmers were trained with a total of 1 299 learning centres having been established.
“The Vice President appealed to members of the media to give message of hope, encouragement and inspiration to all farmers.”
According to statistics availed this week, in Mashonaland Central, farmers have so far planted 380 hectares of maize and part of the crop has germinated and is at three leaf stage.
In Matabeleland North 200 hectares of maize have been planted as officials in the province said farmers were relying on More Food for Africa Brazil tractors and some were having challenges as they had to pay upfront before they could use the tillage facilities.
In Midlands, farmers with irrigation facilities have started planting while in Manicaland planting of the irrigated crop started a fortnight ago.
Government has committed 400 000 hectares to be put under maize and expected to produce about two million tonnes for national food security.
The import substitution maize production programme targets both A1 and A2 farmers as well as Government institutional farms, particularly those near water bodies. Farmers will be provided with seed, herbicides and fertilisers among other inputs.
Command Agriculture is soon expected to include livestock production.