The Herald (Harare)

6 August 2012

Zimbabwe: VP Nkomo Urges Farmers to Produce Enough

ZANU-PF expects the country to produce enough grain for its requirements and stop food imports within the next two years.

Vice President John Nkomo made the remarks in a speech delivered on his behalf by Zanu-PF Central Committee member Cde Munacho Mutezo at a field day held at Gwagwa Farm of Chitowa 3 in Murehwa last week.

VP Nkomo said the party had established a production and labour department within its ranks to oversee the implementation of its production strategies.

"We want to end the embarrassment of perennially surviving on food imports from such countries as Malawi and Zambia that used to depend on us for their food security," he said.

"They have even been learning from us, so we cannot stand that reality of importing food from them, yet we have the human resources to turn around everything and start producing competitively."

VP Nkomo said it was time the party and the country stopped blaming failure on the illegal sanctions and employ production techniques that allow every farmer to fully utilise the land.

He said when Zimbabwe signed the Lancaster House agreement, the general consensus was that everybody would replace the gun with the hoe and work towards developing the economy and be self-reliant.

"The land was the major reason we waged the liberation war, yet 32 years after independence, people have not yet started fully exploiting it," said VP Nkomo.

"Yes, for the majority it is a matter of failing to access resources, but there has to be the individual effort and innovation to boost productivity and justify the implementation of the agrarian revolution."

Zanu-PF secretary for production Cde Dzikamai Mavhaire, who also attended the field day, challenged farmers and stakeholders in the agriculture sector to stop sloganeering and start serious business on their farms.

"The time for slogans and singing war songs has since passed," he said.

"What we are facing now is a new but different war.

"It is a war whose weapon is the hoe, so we must act like real business people.

"Zanu-PF will not tolerate laziness.

"President Mugabe has made it categorically clear that nobody should be unemployed once we have the land at our disposal."

Cde Mavhaire said if the country started producing effectively, even the rural-urban migration that is common in most communities would cease.

"We must focus on both crop and livestock production if we are to realise benefits from farming," he said.

"For livestock, let's improve our breeding practices by switching to artificial insemination and stop the rampant in-breeding currently affecting the quality of our cattle," said Cde Mavhaire.

He urged communities to stop starting veldfires that are destroying the environment and impacting negatively on agriculture.

If farmers cut down trees for any purpose, he said, they had to plant immediate replacements.

Farmers in the Chitowa resettlement area need assistance in the acquisition of both inputs and farming equipment.

They are also facing acute shortages of water for irrigation.

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