ACTING President Emmerson Mnangagwa (pictured) has defended government’s command agriculture programme, saying it will not fail, as has happened in other countries, where similar programmes have been launched.
By KHANYILE MLOTSHWA
Addressing stakeholders during an industrial tour organised by the Grain Millers’ Association of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo yesterday, Mnangagwa dismissed claims that the programme would fail as “absolute nonsense”.
“This command agriculture is not the same as the command agriculture that the Press speaks about,” he said.
“They (Press) say it failed elsewhere and it will fail here. That is absolute nonsense. Our command agriculture is built on free and voluntary will to join the programme. We don’t go around commandeering people to join the programme. They do so on their own.
“People voluntarily come to this programme, but it remains command agriculture because we (government) support them on condition that there is cost recovery. When we all came together — bankers, fertiliser producers and other stakeholders — we realised that Zimbabwe is a resourceful country. We had no single cent for the programme. But we managed to raise the money from among the stakeholders. We are financing this programme domestically. No single cent is coming from outside the country.”
Mnangagwa commended local youths for engaging in various business activities as part of efforts to stimulate economic growth.
“This is what we expect from the younger generation. We, as the government, will continue to create the environment for you to prosper. There is need for you to source technology to ensure that your factories are safe.”
Mnangagwa said his tour of the grain milling factories was in line with the government’s efforts to resuscitate industry in Bulawayo, once regarded as the country’s industrial hub.
“We are also looking at resuscitating the railway company. Our negotiations are at an advanced stage. We are also looking at the Cold Storage Commission. We are currently looking at the funding of the resuscitation programme. We are also looking at livestock in this area. This is all the first stage of resuscitating the economy in this part of the country.”
Mnangagwa said the current economic challenges being experienced in the country would not vanish overnight, but pledged government’s commitment to solving the crisis.
“We are government and, therefore, politicians. We want you (business) to prosper so that people will say we are a good government. If you do well, there will be no demonstrations and protests. We want you to excel in your area so that we will also excel in our area.”