Command Agriculture here to stay

`Command Agric here to stay' - Air Marshal Moyo

The Herald by Leonard Ncube Victoria Falls Reporter

27 October 2018

THE Command Agriculture Programme introduced by Government in 2016 will continue for the next 10 years as it has proved to be a success, an official has said.

In his address at the Africa regional conference here on Wednesday, Air Force of Zimbabwe Commander Air Marshal Elson Moyo said Command Agriculture had a huge impact on Zimbabwe's economy.**

PKF Chartered Accountants, an international accounting and audit firm with offices in Zimbabwe, hosted the rotational conference on behalf of Zimbabwe.

"Command Agriculture was introduced to ensure food and nutrition security and it has already proved that it can be the main vehicle that can be used to bring back Zimbabwe's economy to a growth trajectory," said Air Marshal Moyo.

He said the results-based programme covered crops, livestock, fisheries and wildlife and had benefited the value chain in transport, manufacturing and engineering sectors through employment and improvement of living standards.

"The challenges in access to finance resulted in low productivity on farms and Command Agriculture came in to avail resources," said Air Marshal Moyo. "We foresee Agribank coming back to fund as Government gradually moves out.

"Imports are too high and we have to work towards self-sustainability and we foresee Command Agriculture going on for 10 years to come."

Air Marshal Moyo said Government was inviting private partners to fund the programme at an interest rate not exceeding four percent as it seeks to dilute its role as the sole financier.

The Office of the President and Cabinet oversees Command Agriculture, while the private sector focuses on financing.

Command Agriculture starts with the supply of inputs right up to processing and marketing.

Air Marshal Moyo said the target was to put 400 000 hectares under maize, 60 000ha under soyabeans and 50 000ha under wheat.

He said the programme sought to improve the livestock herd and quality including beef, sheep, dairy, goats, piggery, poultry, fisheries and wildlife management.

"The first season attracted 54 000 participating maize farmers who planted 171 255ha and 2 031 winter wheat farmers who planted 49 749ha," said Air Marshal Moyo. "In total 1,2 million tonnes of maize and 186 000 tonnes of wheat were delivered.

"This has had an impact on the economy, creating employment in the irrigation sector where more than $30 million was put. It has not only ensured food security for the country, but also created wealth.

"The industrial sector had plummeted to its lowest and the coming in of Command Agriculture increased demand for inputs and companies got a new lease of life. This also includes the transport sector while the $16 million given for livestock restocking will resuscitate the Cold Storage Company."

Air Marshal Moyo said efforts were being made to develop appropriate technologies to improve efficiency in the sector.

PKF Zimbabwe chief executive Mr Sydney Bvurere urged all actors in the value chain, including farmers and the private sector, to support Command Agriculture. The theme for the conference was "Branding Together".


Further reading:

Govt overspending on agriculture

30 October 2018

**Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube: “Expenditure on agriculture has been one of the major components driving the budget deficit recently. Expenditure on the sector reached US$1.1 billion as at August 2018, against an annual budget target of US$401 million. Of this, US$238 million went towards Command Agriculture, US$263 million towards the Vulnerable Input Support Scheme and US$505 million to grain procurement. While on the face of it, the TBs issued towards Command Agriculture are a private debt, however, in view of the high default rate by farmers under Command Agriculture, it effectively means that it is Government expenditure. In view of the implications of the existing model of financing, there is a need to revisit the mechanism, with a view of lessening the fiscal burden which has a destabilising effect on the macro-economic environment.”…