Vice president Dr Constantino Chiwenga took stock of the agricultural projects around the country last week
Measures to revitalise the agricultural sector, including increasing the area under production are pivotal to achieve food self-sufficiency and save foreign currency by reducing imports. There are efforts to wean the sector from rain-fed agriculture to sustainable irrigation practices.
Vice president Chiwenga’s team toured agricultural projects in Chiredzi, Masvingo, Binga and Kanyemba and included the Finance and Economic Development minister Professor Mthuli Ncube, Local Government and Public Works minister July Moyo, Industry and Commerce minister Dr Sekai Nzenza as well as officials from the Ministry of Energy and Power Development.
During his tour, vice president Chiwenga warned farmers that they risked losing their land if they did not use it productively.
The secretary for Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Dr John Basera, who was part of the delegation, told The Sunday Mail, “It was basically a tour to inspect progress on the Lowveld maize green belt as well as to monitor progress on the winter maize. We toured Chipangayi in Middle Sabi, where there is a maize field on 150 hectares. At Hippo Valley Estates in Chiredzi, under the Project Kilimanjaro, we toured 73 hectares of winter maize crop. In Chilonge, Masvingo, the irrigation was idle for 13 years and three years ago we visited the place and decided to revive the scheme.”
“In Binga, we had visited the area a month prior to this visit and established an irrigation scheme for winter maize. In Kanyemba there was no winter crop. However, there are plans for a summer crop on over 246 hectares and inputs are set to be delivered soon,” Basera further explained.
He added that the government was working on clearing more than 100, 000 hectares of land for agriculture in Kanyemba, Bulawayo Kraal and Chiredzi during the next three years.
Recently, President Mnangagwa said the “use-it-or-lose-it” principle, initially tailored for the mining sector, would be applied in the agriculture sector, where vast tracts of land are idle.