Thursday, 29 March 2018

COMMAND AGRICULTURE : GOVT GETS TOUGH ON DEFAULTERS

Government has warned farmers who have not repaid their debts under the Command Agriculture programme that they will not be considered for future allocations.

Acting director in the office of the Minister of State for Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs Mr Douglas Chiwiro said Government was working with Agritex officers to compile the list of defaulting farmers.

He was addressing farmers attending a cotton field day in Sanyati last week, saying all defaulting farmers would not benefit from the programme. Mr Chiwiro said farmers needed to consider Command Agriculture as a loan. He also urged tobacco farmers to join the scheme.

“Vice President General Constatino Chiwenga (Retired) last week said Government had roped in tobacco under Command Agriculture,” said Mr Chiwiro. “We urge all tobacco farmers to register so as to benefit from the programme.

“Government is, however, working closely with extension officers to ensure that farmers, who failed to repay their loans under Command Agriculture, will not access inputs.”
Government, he said, had promulgated a law to deal with defaulters.


“Command Agriculture is a loan and it must be repaid so that next time you benefit again,” he said. “Paying back will also enable even new beneficiaries to have access to Government’s programmes.
“There are new programmes being offered by Government to enable farmers to access loans, but make sure you repay.”

Mr Chiwiro said Government was also deeply worried about farmers, who were selling Government inputs, especially from the Presidential Input Support Scheme and Command Agriculture programme, on the black market.

“We are deeply worried with people selling those inputs. It is a serious offence and some are already in jail over the matter,” he said. “Let us desist from that bad culture of sabotaging Government, which is striving by all means to support us as farmers.”

Mr Chiwiro said farmers also have an option to participate in Command Fisheries.
“l know in Sanyati some may say there are few dams here, but we will liaise with the responsible authorities to resolve the issue,” he said.

“There is also Command Livestock programme were extension officers would be of much assistance to farmers in explaining the programme.”
Mr Chiwiro urged farmers to be productive so as to contribute to Zimbabwe’s economic development agenda.

“Our rainfall patterns are now unpredictable and are changing almost every season. It’s high time farmers plant a variety of crops, including drought-resistant ones in case of disasters,” he said. Herald

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