As we part ways I want to assure you that the Party and Government will continue with serious introspection as we chart a better course for us all, for now and posterity. I stated in my Inauguration Speech to the State Presidency and as reflected in the 2018 National Budget Statement, the task at hand is that of rebuilding our great country. Government will leave no stone unturned to fully exploit the country’s rich resource base for the benefit of all people, and to improve the livelihoods of all who consider Zimbabwe home.
For the avoidance of doubt let me assure Congress, the Party membership and the nation at large, that the principle of repossessing our land cannot be challenged or reversed. To do so would be a betrayal of the brave men and women who fell in our protracted war of liberation, those who sacrificed their lives in our quest to regain our land. Indeed, land and agriculture are at the core to us as a people and central to our economy.
In recognition of this centrality, Government will through the newly-reconstituted Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement ensure that appropriate policy instruments are put in place to support all categories of farmers, be it A1, A2, resettled or communal farmers; with focus being on productivity and maximum utilisation of all agriculture land.
Congress will be pleased to note that as announced in the National Budget Statement, the Zanu-PF Government will continue to fund the Command Agriculture Programme and the Presidential Inputs Scheme. In addition to supporting traditional crops, Government has increased support for small grains, soyabeans and cotton. I am aware that some of us have been experiencing some challenges with regards to accessing seed and fertilisers from GMB depots in our provinces while others have experienced great congestion and delays at depots. Let me assure you all that the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement is looking into the matter and I am confident that the issues are being competently attended to. Meanwhile, let us all work hard to ensure that the 2017/2018 agriculture season is a tremendous success.
Going forward, Government will facilitate an enabling environment that ensures success throughout the agro-value chain. Funds have been set aside to boost agriculture productivity at a disaggregated level. In this regard, Government will harness our irrigation potential and ensure maximum utilisation of existing idle water bodies. Resources have thus been availed towards irrigation rehabilitation and development, with at least 200 hectares per district targeted to be implemented annually for the next 10 years.
With the anticipated improvement of productivity in cropping, we have put in place measures to increase our harvesting capacity, through the importation of combine harvesters, driers and other agricultural equipment. Plans are in place to manage post harvest losses and expand our storage facilities.
Meanwhile, we remain alive to the need to protect our vast forests throughout the country and especially in the Eastern Highlands. The responsible Ministry of Water, Environment and Climate is looking into all these matters together with an accelerated thrust for reforestation, growing of fruit trees and the prevention of veldt fires.
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