VICE-PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday said he welcomed criticism of the command agriculture programme, saying this makes him “do better and stay longer in power”.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
In off the cuff remarks at the Zimbabwe International Business Conference running alongside the ongoing Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo, Mnangagwa said critics of the farming programme helped him make improvements.
“Preparations for planting of the winter wheat crop are in full swing and we are already preparing for summer because we listened to the criticisms from both the private sector, especially the farming communities, and commentators, who criticised us on command agriculture deficiencies and we are correcting those deficiencies,” he said.
“So we value your comments, in particular, we value your criticism because it makes us do better and stay longer in power.”
The scheme recently came under fire from Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology minister Jonathan Moyo, who claimed that the programme had been politicised and its benefits exaggerated for political expediency.
Moyo insinuated Mnangagwa and his loyalists were using the programme as a campaign platform to support his bid to succeed President Robert Mugabe.
The Tsholotsho North legislator is reportedly linked to the G40 faction, which is fiercely opposed to Mnangagwa’s bid.
Mnangagwa attributed the scheme’s success to the massive support it received from financiers, inputs suppliers and farmers.
“Government is happy about this success and is grateful for the role that each of these parties played in the success of the programme.
For that reason, starting this year, the government is extending similar programmes to cover livestock, wheat, cotton and soya beans production,” he said.
“An important lesson from the 2016/17 summer agricultural season is that we need to maximise on the distribution of inputs for the 2017/18 season, so that by August 2017, all farmers participating in command agriculture, presidential inputs scheme and many other organised support programmes get their inputs in a timely manner,” he said.