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Command agriculture not Soviet style: Mnangagwa

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ACTING President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said government’s command agriculture programme is not premised on the former Soviet Union or Cuban style as no one is compelled to join the programme.

by Stephen Chadenga

Addressing a public lecture on the agriculture programme at Midlands State University yesterday, Mnangagwa said it was meant to substitute grain imports through increased production.

“People are not compelled to come to this programme, they voluntarily do so,” Mnangagwa said.

“It’s not command in the sense of the Soviet Union or Cuba as people come and leave as they please. It’s only that when you decide to join the programme, we as government support you on certain set conditions.”

He said the programme was initiated to ensure food security in the country at all times whether there was drought or good rains.

Mnangagwa said the programme was a pragmatic strategy that would breed a new crop of farmers who respect contracts.

“Command agriculture is a policy intervention by government informed by the imperative to substitute grain imports through increased agricultural production and productivity, thereby revitalising various agro-processing value chains and helping the country to re-industrialise,” he said.

Critics, however, say the programme has not yielded much results and that the bumper harvest of the 2016/2017 season could not be solely attributed to command agriculture, but the good rains.

Recently Zanu PF blocked a demand by opposition MDC-T legislators to have the list of people who benefited from the programme released and audited.

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