Chivi Rural District will launch a Village Command Agriculture programme to ensure that villagers put to proper use inputs supplied by Government for the improvement of yields to secure household and national food security. The village initiative would be anchored on the Presidential Inputs Scheme through which President Mugabe has been supplying free inputs to communal farmers throughout the country.
Speaking at a meeting with headmen and farmers in Chivi South over the weekend, Chivi Rural District Council chairperson Dr Killer Zivhu said they would set up village committees to monitor the implementation of the programme at the grassroots level.
"We are saying as a district that Village Command Agriculture is the only way to go," he said. "This is because it will complement the Village Zim-Asset which we successfully launched and implemented in our district.
"Through Village Zim-Asset, we managed to build schools, rehabilitate dams and roads and mobilised the community to work together on various developmental projects."
Dr Zivhu said President Mugabe would remain the main anchor of Village Command Agriculture through the supply of the free inputs to villagers.
"The committees we will establish will work together with Agritex officials to ensure that every input supplied by the President is accounted for," he said. "We want to take Command Agriculture to the grassroots. In some areas, some people are still waiting for the programme and think that it is only meant for commercial farmers.
"Once we all participate in Command Agriculture, we will be able to revive our industry as it depends on agriculture and then we will be creating employment in the process and earn more foreign currency through exports. Villagers should also participate in creating that employment by successfully taking part in the programme."
Dr Zivhu said every official and politician should ensure programmes such as Command Agriculture were successful at their level of administration.
"Councillors should be more active in villages, Members of Parliament in their constituencies, Senators in districts and provincial ministers at provincial level," he said.
"This way we popularise programmes such as Command Agriculture much faster for the benefit of our nation. Councillors in Chivi are going to take the programme to the wards they administer and closely monitor its implementation to complement the efforts of our leaders at the national level."
Dr Zivhu said a private seed company, K2, whose representative was present at the meeting, had showed an interest in partnering the district on additional inputs.
He urged villagers not to sell inputs from Government following reports that some of them sold fertilisers to sugar cane farmers in the Lowveld last year.
Village Command Agriculture will feed into the national programme, which was a success last farming season and helped restore the country's food security.
Many farmers participated in Command Agriculture after getting free inputs from Government and they are expected to deliver five tonnes each to the Grain Marketing Board.
Dr Zivhu announced at the meeting that there were efforts to set up a Village Tourism Centre near Tokwe Mukosi Dam in the district for villagers to benefit from the country's largest inland dam, which was recently commissioned by President Mugabe.
"We are going to construct a Village Tourism Centre using the methods used by our ancestors," he said. "We will build the village using ancient methods so that those who come and visit the dam, including foreigners, will also visit the centre."