ED champions farming power

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PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has challenged all Zimbabweans to help him return the country to its yester-year levels of high farm productivity, the Daily News reports.

This comes as Zimbabwe is bidding to regain its breadbasket status within the region, following decades of vast swathes of land previously owned by white commercial farmers lying untended in the country.

“I, therefore, call upon all our Zimbabwean citizens to occupy themselves with the concept of productivity, productivity, productivity wherever they are and abandon the dreaming day and night of demonstrations and violence.

“I also implore our brothers and sisters in the media to find more time in promoting growth, productivity, harmony and unity than in pursuit of division.

“Let us all work together to ensure profitability of the sector,” Mnangagwa said while commissioning a US$51 million Belarus farm mechanisation facility.

“I encourage all political parties and formations, churches and non-governmental organisations to mobilise our communities to be more productive, leveraging on government policies and programmes and not spend time preaching to our people about a pie in the sky.

“Productivity is on the ground. My administration remains open to ideas, perspectives, opportunities and 1partnerships and investments to revamp and grow the sector and the economy at large.

“Currently, we are in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, but I feel proud of the people of Zimbabwe because even under these harsh conditions of the pandemic, our people are determined throughout to be productive,” he said further.

Mnangagwa also revealed that in addition to the US$51 mechanisation facility, Zimbabwe and Belarus had agreed an additional US$50 million agricultural facility.

He also indicated that the beneficiaries of the Belarus mechanisation facility and those of the recent John Deere facility should be credit-worthy farmers.

“It is not one’s name that will result in access to the facility or one’s mutupo (totem). It is one’s skills. It must be one’s productivity, one’s integrity.

“I know a few of my friends who benefited from the land reform, but who only go to the farm on the weekend.

“They drive their 4x4s with a freezer and drinks at the back and when they arrive at the farm they sit on the bonnet and take pictures of the land.

“Let me assure you that the policy of productivity will catch up with you if you do not use the land,” Mnangagwa warned.

This comes as Zimbabwe is bidding to have a US$8,5 billion agriculture economy by 2025 — as part of restoring the country to its former breadbasket of Africa status.

It also comes as Zimbabwe is still reeling from its chaotic agrarian reforms which were carried out two decades ago, after the late former president Robert Mugabe lost a constitutional referendum and ordered the seizure of white-owned farms as punishment for them supporting the opposition.

The land seizures, which were characterised by violence, disrupted production on the farms — leading to many years of hunger. It also led to Zimbabwe becoming a pariah state.

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