Tagwirei speaks on Command Agric, success Mr Kudakwashe Tagwirei

Bulawayo Bureau

Businessman Mr Kudakwashe Tagwirei has for the first time revealed how he made a proposal for Government to adopt Command Agriculture, which has since transformed farming in Zimbabwe and increased production.

Mr Tagwirei, who is the founder and chief executive of Sakunda Holdings, was speaking at the 26th graduation ceremony at Solusi University.

He said he came up with the proposal to do contract farming in 2015.

“I was going to Equatorial Guinea and the man who I was with on the plane told me about the drought that was coming, El Nino,” said Mr Tagwirei.

“Thereafter I started thinking and planning for it and a week after I came back, I started planning a strategy.

“I called my friends and we sat up until 4am, discussing about the drought that was coming. I did a project proposal for contract farming, which you now call Command Agriculture. When we started, no one thought it was going to succeed and no one talked about it.”

Mr Tagwirei said after the success of the programmes, the United States Agricultural Department commended the country for Command Agriculture.

He said it was surprising that the same US government had put him under sanctions.

“However, when the US government saw that I was supporting the Government of the day in Zimbabwe, they then said, he stole US$3 billion. And I was placed on sanctions,” said Mr Tagwirei.

Mr Tagwirei, who is an elder in the Seventh Day Adventist church which runs Solusi University, said Government had agricultural programmes in rural areas that graduates could take advantage of.

He said the programmes were not political.

“All of us have a rural home, and in those rural homes, Government is drilling boreholes and establishing irrigation schemes,” he said.

“If you decide that you want to be an entrepreneur, go to your rural home, the Government has a programme for you.

“Do not think politics, think of your rural home. I’m not telling you who to vote for, I’m telling you to think of your rural home.”

Mr Tagwirei urged graduates to work together and start farming projects.

“Do you know that to succeed you don’t have to have this big vision,” he said.

“You start small. We tend to want the big things. In your rural home, you have one hectare and sell that car of yours and put a borehole.

“You’re educated, you know how to put fertiliser and seed in the ground; you know how much water is needed. So, you should begin to practice what you have been taught in your rural home.”

Mr Tagwirei said there was no need to have huge tracts of land for one to be a successful farmer.

“If you are said to be a big farmer in Zimbabwe you must have 100 hectares,” he said.

“In Israel, it’s six hectares, you are called wealthy when you have six hectares. In Zimbabwe, we want 100, 200 or 300 hectares, but what Israel does, is that they come together as a community, and they look for a market for their combined hectares.”

Mr Tagwirei told the graduates that they would face challenges, but should not be stopped.

“Class of 22, you are going to meet challenges, when you have a vision do not stop, work and look for it,” he said.

“And there’s going to be an American government kind of situation that is going to come to you and tell you that you can’t succeed. And when they see you succeed, they are going to put sanctions on your life.”

Ms Masline Tsamwayi from Buhera, who graduated with a Diploma in Early childhood Education, said she was working on establishing a school in her home area.

“I am from in Murambinda, there is no ECD school nearby and some children walk long distances to the nearest one,” she said. “I want to establish such as a school for our area so that the children benefit.”

Among the graduates was National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo director Ms Silenkosi Moyo who graduated with a Masters in Business Administration.

She said collaboration was key to success in any organisation.

“I feel very challenged to act on collaboration. In the field that I am, it’s something that we talk about often and it was emphasised today that we need to work together as a team,” said Ms Moyo.

Mr Bongiswa Dlamini from the Kingdom of Eswatini who graduated with a BSc in Environmental Health, said he chose Zimbabwe because of the quality of education in the country.

“I came to Zimbabwe because it was a proper country for me to study, especially science as there is a focus on lab work and practicals. My experience here overall has been out of this world,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to improving the health sector in my country.”

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