By Patricia Mashiri
The command agriculture scheme that is being spearheaded by the government with the aim of ensuring food self-sufficiency is exhibiting at the 2017 Harare Agricultural Show.
The scheme aims to boost agricultural production. Farmers receive loans in the form of irrigation equipment, inputs and chemicals, mechanised equipment, electricity and water payment, which will be repaid using some proceeds from the harvests.
“The Command Agriculture sector is exhibiting at the Harare agricultural show in line with the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio- Economic Transformation (ZIMASSET) by the government with the aim of returning Zimbabwe’s bread basket of Southern Africa status. The show will run from Monday 21st of August to Saturday 26th August at Harare Show ground. The ZIMASSET policy is there to enhance food security and nutrition hence it is a wise step by the government,” said a Mr. S Rongai, one of the Logistics Managers of the Command Agriculture Scheme.
The programme is available to every farmer with enough land to cultivate. It is being implemented all over the country. A farmer has to go to the Agritex offices in the areas so that the Agritex officer will come and observe the land the farmer wants to cultivate.
“After the Agritex officer assesses the land, a form called a contract form has to be filled which shows the agreement between the Ministry of Agriculture and the farmer. The Contract states that every farmer should produce 5 tonnes per hectare depending on where you are cultivating your grain. The ones who will be cultivating using irrigation schemes are expected to bring 5 tonnes without excuse since they have all the resources than those cultivating on dry lands,” Rongai said.
The Command Agriculture then provides the farmer with inputs such as compound D, top dressing, fuel for both tilling the land and harvesting and the seed. This agreement is beneficial to both the government and the farmers since the farmer has no hustle in looking for inputs and fuel because the government has its suppliers.
“The Command Agriculture Section at the Harare Agricultural Show is not promising any prizes to the farmers this time since we are just launching the exhibition but we promise something as time goes on,” said Rongai.
The command agriculture is exhibiting so that many farmers get to know what they are offering people and there is free entry for those who are interested hence the exhibition is meant to raise awareness of the scheme to the farmers.