The government and key stakeholders in the grain value chain have the capacity to produce three million tonnes of grain in the next season if they adopt a deliberate strategy to develop an irrigation master plan which will double the hectarage put under irrigation to 300 000 hectares in the 2017/2018 agriculture season.

The remarks were made by the Vice President Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa who is the guest of honour at the inaugural 2017 Maize Value Conference held in Harare.

Vice President Mnangagwa who also chairs the command agriculture programme paid tribute to the tremendous support and corporation government received from inputs suppliers, financiers and the farmers at large for making government food security initiatives a success.

“Harvesting in now underway and the country is heading for a bumper harvest of over two million tonnes of maize and farmers should be rest assured of lucrative payments on delivery of their grain to the GMB,” the Vice President said.

Cde Mnangagwa did not mince his words saying focus and more energy should not be wasted on social media but rather be directed towards a massive expansion of irrigable hectarage to at least 300 000 hectares and mould at least two in every five farmers to graduate into the 10 tonne clubs.

Held under the theme, “Sustaining a Competitive and Inclusive Maize Value Chain”, the conference attracted over 45 companies and top government officials to reflect on strengths and weaknesses of command agriculture and Presidential Inputs Support Scheme towards achieving food security.