NewsDay Editorial: Joseph Made must resign

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The clash between Agriculture minister Joseph Made and his deputy Paddy Zhanda over the Grain Marketing Board (GMB)’s lack of capacity to buy this year’s maize crop is grand standing at its best.

NewsDay Editorial

It is also indicative of the poor state of the all-important agriculture sector.

Zimbabweans are not surprised by Made’s rants because since his initial appointment 14 years ago, he has always (mis)informed the country by projecting bumper harvests year-in-year-out, but without consequences to him. Now, because he has capable deputies, he’s fighting for space.

Made cannot have his cake and eat it too. No doubt he has successfully misled President Robert Mugabe over successive bumper harvests that never came to fruition and still survived in his job by blaming sanctions. One wonders whether Made is himself a successful farmer or not.

It is on record that Zhanda is a renowned crop and livestock farmer as well as a businessman of repute hence Zimbabweans would agree with his assessment regarding this year’s harvests.

Zhanda’s error was that he chose to tell the truth last week breaking ranks with Made, saying: “GMB is a buyer of last resort and you do not have to sell your maize to GMB if there are people who can buy that maize. I am sure you are aware that there are some difficulties in terms of resources and, therefore, if you want to sell to GMB because GMB pays you better than any other buyer, then you must also be prepared to wait in the queue.”

While Made charged at a Press conference in Harare on Monday that Zhanda’s remarks in the National Assembly last week were erroneous, the truth of the matter is that GMB still owes thousands of farmers payments for grain supplied in the past. What benefit does it have for a farmer to deliver their crop and then fail to get payment for their sweat?

Besides, what Zhanda meant was that Made’s GMB-mandated price of $390 per tonne is actually self-defeating, populist and inappropriate. Because to cover its cost, the GMB will have to offer the same maize to millers at a higher price of probably over $400 per tonne.

Needless to say, the millers will not buy and the maize will go to waste in the GMB’s crumbling infrastructure.

The longer the stock stays unsold the greater the carrying costs and the higher the losses. So, Zhanda is right after all that the GMB should be the buyer of last resort.

It appears that Made is still hooked on subsidies and his previous mistakes. Couldn’t it be the appropriate time for Mugabe to retire Made for the growth of the agriculture sector, which caters for 80% of the country’s population and 40% of the gross domestic product?

Yes, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa and the Agricultural Marketing Authority have been tasked by Cabinet to mobilise financial resources to pay farmers for maize, but the prospects are gloomy — that money is not there.

The failure by GMB to pay farmers on time has in the past disrupted their agricultural activities.

Yet, from his tone, it appears Made has clearly failed to read the national mood. The reason perhaps Mugabe appointed two deputies in his ministry was to ensure that they stimulate the all-important sector.

Cde Made, agriculture is everybody’s business, so you must wise up. Clearly, if the strategic reserve requires 500 000 metric tonnes and the projected assessments show that farmers could produce up to 800 000 metric tonnes, simple math shows there won’t be a bumper harvest. Actually, the country would need grain imports to supplement grain deliveries.

Made has botched up. What can one say when only 5 400 metric tonnes out of the projected 800 000 has been delivered to GMB.

Isn’t this a reflection that GMB is in a sorry state and that Made has failed? Made should wise up and resign to save the agriculture sector!

20 COMMENTS

  1. The very re-appointment of Dr Made was a clear message from Mugabe that he does not care a hoot about Agriculture. This is why we are now buying maize indirectly from the very farmers we expelled from Zimbabwe. I agree that this guy should go maybe make him ambassador to Cuba or some such country

  2. The worst minister in the history of mankind. I could agree with you more. Zhanda should just be given the job, fullstop. Everytime Zhanda speaks I tend to listen to him and almost agree with him each time. Agriculture is the backbone of our country if not the best. Some people always wonder what Zim products are truly unique, our food. Colcom products are the best I have ever tasted from anywhere in the world and I travel a lot. Our “cule” Mazoe can be exported in millions of litres and can do well in any country. Our free range beef and chickens can be counted as some of the best in the world. Things, maputi. Our food growing and processing has the potential to rake in more than diamonds and employ even much more. But then it all starts with a minister who understands this concept in the mould of Zhanda. If he can expand our pig rearing sector the government can in turn help colcom grow its facilities with heavy returns in exports and employment creation. Zhanda for Minister. Bvisai Made please tapota.

  3. Typical of recycled dead wood Made is. Please,we need serious & committed people to be our ministers NOT liars like Made. It’s no longer business as usual. Cde Zhanda,we salute you but
    well meaning cadres like you don’t live long. You have demonstrated that Zimbabwe is full of big brains. Thank you SIR.

  4. yet Made is busy raising our hopes by the possible beef export to Europe, which he said will commence soon. Bt still he has prooved to be Mugabes favourite through hm retaining his post

  5. made is right. even if the silos are in poor state, you dont have be careless in public if u r in office, even if its the truth…….remember one cabinet minister who went to town telling evry1 that zimbabwe had only a few dollars left… while it was true, it was needless and reckless

  6. Made can’t tell the difference between maize crop & grass/trees from a helicopter. What kind of an agriculture minister is that

  7. THE PROBLEM IS NOT MAD E BUT HIS EMPLOYER.NO ONE SHOULD EXPECT A DIFFERENT OUTCOME WHEN SAME SOLUTION IS PROFERRED 4SAME PROBLEM.

  8. That one is primarily responsible for the destruction of agriculture in the land. Put that on your cv Jo.

  9. Interesting to see now Newsday writing “Cde Made”. Its now clear that the paper and all its sister papers have been taken over by CIO leaving Daily News the only independent newspaper

  10. For all the ranting and fury over Dr Made, let me assure you! In Zimbabwe, you need to be an incompetent lot to get promotion. For saying the truth, Cde Zhanda will be demoted. History has it that the more you lie and perform badly, the more you get promoted. In fact, there are two ministries in Zimbabwe where incompetency reign supreme- Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. The guy called Dokora is going to plunge the education sector into abyss, and who CARES AS LONG AS THEIR CHILDREN LEARN IN FOREIGN LANDS. These guys are are the architects of regime change, not the British as we are made to believe. For Zanu pf, its policies are ruinous hence the reason people hate the party and its leadership

  11. Zhanda is a practitioner while Made’s agriculture ndeye muBook. The country now needs practioners, maAcademic back to the lab. Mugabe shuld have given the job to people who practice farming not those who read about farming. ZvanaPhD zvisingabstsire nyika izvo taneta nazvo !!!

  12. Made is just parroting what he knows his master wants the nation to hear. he is a zombie and that’s what Mugabe and ZANU PF wants. So Zhanda might find himself in the cold for being forthright.

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