*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I stood up to add my voice in a few words to the Presidential Speech that was given by the President as we support him. Let me start on the Command Agriculture – it was mentioned by the President in his speech. Command Agriculture is a very good project that was successful. When the President was talking about Command Agriculture, he said that this year this programme will still be in force. However, but in my opinion, when he mentioned Command Agriculture – that people will be getting a lot of things, they became excited and prices for inputs went up to alarming levels. The pesticides that we used to buy for $15 a litre, have been doubled and they are now being sold at $45 per litre. Fertilizer that used to be very affordable at between $30 and $32 is now costing $45 to $50. This means that Command Agriculture was a good initiative but because people are so greedy, they increased the prices because right now they heard that the shops had increased their prices of commodities and they did not realise that the inputs for agriculture would also go up. These were raised to alarming levels.
So, we want to thank the President for the Command Agriculture but we also want him to send teams to investigate the prices that have gone up because they now prohibit us as the ordinary men to go and buy. It is true and in the rural areas the President also mentioned the inputs for subsistence farmers, but can a person really wait for 10 kgs from the President? This is just to render assistance with 50 kgs of Compound D and top dressing fertilizers. There are other farmers who are able to farm much more than this. Those people in the rural areas are subsistence farmers and they cannot afford the expensive fertilizers because the 727 seed now costs $100 for 18kgs.
So if this person is a subsistence farmer from the rural areas for example Buhera where there is always a drought, it means that the person can no longer afford to buy fertilizer or the seed itself. So, the President talked about Command Agriculture which is a good initiative but we request that the Government goes down on the ground and investigate what is happening – not only to investigate the prices of biscuits and other commodities but also the price of inputs for agriculture.
Agricultural inputs are what affect the lives of the people and they should be monitored. So, I am hoping that what we are saying here, if they go out into the fields and see what is happening. The rise in prices has affected agriculture whether the prices were raised through WhatsApp or whatever. This gesture is meant to destroy the nation. The country should not deteriorate.
Secondly, I want to talk about corruption Mr. Speaker Sir. In this country, corruption has become a cancer. Corruption, the President has reiterated this. He can talk and mention about corruption many times but what concerns us is that the people who are found in corrupt activities, not even one of them has been arrested in this country. There have been no arrests. This is a very difficult issue. When I am in my constituency Mr. Speaker, people ask me – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Mr. Speaker I seek your protection from those who are talking too much for them to keep quiet as I debate.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order.
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