by Bevan Musoko
In his widely accepted address of the United Nations General Assembly yesterday, President Mnangagwa explained that Government’s initiative to achieve food security, the Command Agriculture scheme, had achieved its intended purpose as the country now boasted of food security.
The President explained that the Command Agriculture initiative had been implemented in the framework of achieving some of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which calls upon all countries to implement policies that end all forms of poverty, which ultimately lead to conflict.
President Mnangagwa explained that “I am pleased to report that Zimbabwe has made substantial progress in the implementation of some of the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular with regards to ensuring food security. Through our people-centred policies and planned programmes, complemented by private sector financing and investments, farmers receive inputs, equipment and technical support.”
The President further explained that Government had extended support to the livestock, fisheries and wildlife sectors in a bid to improve nutrition and income opportunities for citizens. This, President Mnangagwa explained, was one example of innovation, creativity and home-grown solutions that had been developed as the country sought to circumvent US and Western sanctions, ironically imposed over agrarian reforms implemented in 2000.
In the spirit of complementing Government efforts in agriculture, various private companies, among them Sakunda Holdings, National Foods and other Chinese owned companies have partnered Government in availing inputs to farmers while others engage in contract tobacco, maize, wheat and cotton farming.
Tobacco farmers produced the ever highest yield of 238 million kgs in 2018, against the highest yield in post-independent Zimbabwe of 237 million achieved by white commercial farmers in 2000.
According to the latest US Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWSNET) report, the country will benefit from high production last season which will avail carry-over stocks into the current season. “National maize production from the 2016-17 cropping season was estimated at 2.16 million metric tonnes or 140 percent above the five-year average. As a result, national cereal stocks are expected to be atypically above-average for the remainder of the marketing year and into the 2018-19 marketing and consumption year,” FEWSNET said.
This achievement has been attributed to Command Agriculture initiative. The country is assured of food security, while farmers are assured of steady incomes. The sponsoring companies are able to export the produce to earn foreign currency. Meanwhile, the overall economy gets raw materials, thus supporting the downstream value chain.