Higher Education Minister Jonathan Moyo has continued to condemn the much-vaunted Command Agriculture Programme which will definitely be one of the campaign platforms for the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front branding it “Command-Ugly Culture”.
Moyo has since March condemned the programme because of the hype it has received and the attribution of its success to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
He has even questioned the yields being talked about.
“Better listen to agro-economists on how $500m was commandeered to plant maize on just 153 102.60ha when the $500m was meant for 400 000ha!” Moyo tweeted in March.
“After merchants of Command Agriculture poured $500m to plant maize on 153 102.60ha, they now want a Command Economy!”
Moyo said the programme would only yield between 6090 000 and 750 000 tonnes.
Agriculture Minister Joseph Made who admitted that only 38 percent of the land targeted had been planted said he expects the yield to be just over two millions tonnes.
“The expected maize production will exceed 2 155 000 tonnes, which is an increase of 321 percent from the 800 000 tonnes harvested during the 2015-16 agricultural season,” he was quoted by The Herald yesterday.
“When we add the small grains, the expected production will be more than 2.5 million tonnes against human consumption requirement per year of 1.5 million tonnes.”
“Sorghum saw an increase of 400 percent from the 36 000 tonnes last season to 182 000 tonnes this season, pearl millet increased by 267 percent from 23 000 tonnes to 83 000 tonnes this season, while a massive increase of 328 percent was also recorded in roundnut production from 14 000 tonnes last season to 59 000 tonnes this year.
“Sweet potatoes increased from 204 000 tonnes to 517 000 tonnes, while groundnuts increased from 74 000 tonnes to 148 000 tonnes. I want to emphasise that, all told, in terms of major food items such as cereals, tubers and pulses, the country will produce four million tonnes of the significant food crops compared to the national requirement of around three million tonnes, which means that all in general, the country is expecting a surplus of all food items.”
Continued next page