Elita Chikwati Senior Agriculture Reporter
Government will launch the Command Agriculture Livestock, Fisheries and Wildlife Programme in Harare on Thursday, December 21, 2017, with all stakeholders expected to come up with their contributions.
The programme is expected to be launched by Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Minister Air Marshal Perrance Shiri (Retired). Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Mr Justin Mupamhanga, confirmed the development. He said he was impressed with the overwhelming response being shown by stakeholders in the agriculture industry on the programme and encouraged them to prepare their contributions adequately.
“The launch will take place on Thursday,” he said.
“Stakeholders should take this opportunity to prepare for the programme and come up specific issues and contributions that should be tabled.”
The Command Agriculture Livestock Fisheries and Wildlife Programme, which was submitted by the committee on Food Security and Nutrition and was approved by Cabinet is expected to run between three and five years. Livestock farmers from all sectors — communal to A2 and institutions including churches, prisons and police farms across the country — are expected to benefit.
A2 farmers are expected to anchor the programme. It will cover all aspects of livestock such as beef cattle, dairy cows, pigs, sheep, goats, fish, wildlife and small stock such as poultry and rabbits. The fund will also go towards foot-and-mouth disease fences, resuscitation and establishment of dip tanks, watering points and livestock infrastructure.
The programme is expected to boost crop production for stock feed, resuscitation of the leather industry, and production of tally for soap. It is also expected to boost production of blood and bone meal, which the country is currently importing.
The programme is being introduced following the huge success of the Special Maize Programme for Import Substitution (Command Agriculture). Focus would be on areas such as Matabeleland South, Matabeleland North, southern parts of Manicaland, Masvingo and southern parts of Midlands where livestock thrives.
The programme will focus on communal and A1 sectors as these contribute three quarters of the national herd. Command Agriculture is credited for being one of the initiatives by Government that led to a bumper maize harvest realised in the 2016/17 farming season.
President Mnangagwa is on record saying command farming was a sure way for the country to attain food self-sufficiency, with the country regaining its status on sustainable food production in Africa.