Good rains, Command Agric raise hopes of economic boom
Thursday, 05 January 2017 19:29
The current good rains have inspired hope among Zimbabweans that a strong performance by the agriculture sector will see the country achieving the projected 1.7 percent economic growth rate this year.
Harare Polytechnic Dean of Business Studies, Dr Wilfred Mazani said the agriculture sector remains critical in the recovery of the local economy and is optimistic of a good agricultural season which will guarantee food security and set the tone for sustainable economic growth.
ARDA board chairman Mr Basil Nyabadza said Zimbabwe remains an agro-based economy and the revival of the agriculture sector will benefit downstream industries and ensure the growth of the manufacturing sector.
As part of recommendations from industry, there is need to intensify the ongoing initiatives by the government aimed at revolutionalising the agriculture sector including the Command Agriculture Programme, ARDA graduation programme and the mechanisation project.
Meanwhile, beneficiaries of the Command Agriculture Programme across the country say they are on course of recording one of the best seasons in recent years if the rains persist.
Farmers in Manicaland Province are optimistic of surpassing the five tonnes per hactare target and are confident that the programme will reposition the country as the bread basket of Southern Africa.
Acting Manicaland Provincial Agriculture Extension Officer, Philipa Rwambiwa said the state of the crop under Command Agriculture is good and the province is anticipating to register huge success.
68 hectares of maize is now at harvesting stage in Chipinge and in all other districts the maize crop is at vegetative stage.
Manicaland has a target of 65 000 hectares of maize and that was spread under irrigation and dry land but has so far managed to plant 6 786 hectares.
In the Midlands Province, farmers are happy that their crop is thriving and flourishing under the programme.
The Command Agriculture Programme has also generated a lot interest amongst farmers in the province as some of them are still enquiring for more details in order for them to register under the programme.
Midlands Provincial Agritex Officer, Mr Peter Chamisa said the year promises to be a good one compared to the previous years where the province experienced serious grain deficit.
The province has so far planted more than 6000 hectares of maize crop as it continues to target about 17 000 hectares under the government programme.
Mashonaland West Province also expects a great yield, with one Hurungwe farmer, Mr Phineas Siziba saying the 2016/2017 season will likely be a life changing one.
10 hectares of a flourishing maize crop is an achievement for an communal farmer, who also is hopeful of producing in excess of 5 tonnes of maize per hectare this season should the rains maintain current patterns.