By Nyasha N Mukapiko
Government will soon seize farms near water bodies if farmers fail to embrace irrigation farming and hand them to farmers willing to venture into irrigation in support of command agriculture, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa revealed while touring wheat farms recently.
VP Mnangagwa was touring wheat farms among them, Blue sky farms owned by a white commercial farmer Daniel Bosman who was the host in Lion’s Den upon invitation by Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) chairman Tafadzwa Musarara.
“Look I have been given this task as chairman of food security for Zimbabwe, I hardly get associated with failure so those farmers, let me assure you that if you are a farmer and you are near water and you are not doing irrigation we offer you irrigation equipment and you say you don’t like, we remove you from water and we will put someone who can use the water”, Mnangagwa warned.
Vice president Mnangagwa said government had already ordered enough equipment for dam construction which is going to see more dams being constructed in each province around the country for the purpose of enhancing irrigation farming.
Government is in the process of recruiting the few remaining white commercial farmers and other successful black farmers under the command agriculture which is expected to leave the country, once the bread basket of Africa self-food sufficient in the next four seasons.
Under the command agriculture program, government is going to put 400 000 hectares of land under grain at a total cost of US$515million that was borrowed from the private sector.
Zimbabwe requires two million metric tonnes of grain per/year to feed its estimated fourteen million population.
GMAZ chairman Musarara promised to buy off the 800 000 metric tonnes of grain to be produced in the next farming season.
Mnangagwa praised the highly mechanised white commercial farmer Bosman whom he said was able to do land preparation of about 450 hectares per/day and scoffed at the black farmers who were still using ox-drawn ploughs to prepare eight hectares per/day.
Zimbabwe became food insecure after the chaotic land reform program that was characterised by seizing of white owned commercial farms by politicians fifteen years ago, leaving only about 300 white commercial farmers.
This year nearly 4million Zimbabweans were left food insecure after the El-nino induced drought hit the country.