FUEL supplier, Sakunda Holdings funded government’s much vaunted Command Agriculture programme spearheaded by Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, NewsDay has learnt.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
President Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba let the cat out of the bag on Tuesday, while addressing mourners at the burial of his wife, Idaishe Olivia Chengu-Charamba in Mutorashanga.
Government had kept a tight lid on the funders of the scheme, amid speculation the exercise was bankrolled by taxpayers.
“Let it be known that Command Agriculture is not being funded by public funds, nothing is coming from taxpayers. The money is coming from Sakunda Holdings through their company Trafigura fronted by Kuda Tagwireyi. These are committed Zimbabweans bound by the love of their country who came to fund the project,” he said.
Sakunda, which is currently involved in several major government energy projects, is believed to have pumped in $199 million into the scheme where farmers who received free agricultural inputs were expected to pay back with grain deliveries to the Grain Marketing Board.
Under the scheme which is seen as the ruling Zanu PF’s 2018 election trump card, government plans to increase food production and ensure food security for the country. The scheme is touted to produce 2 million tonnes of grain.
Zimbabwe had been turned into a net importer of grain since the launch of the land reform programme in 2000 which saw over 4 000 white former commercial farmers dispossessed of their land which was redistributed to poorly-equipped indigenous farmers.