The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Agriculture has criticised the abuse of government-funded programmes, such as the command agriculture and the presidential inputs scheme, by individuals who enrich themselves at the expense of smallholder farmers.
BY KUDZAI MUCHENJEKWA
Speaking at a Seed Co field day at Arnold Rattray Research Station on Wednesday, chairperson of the committee, Justice Mayor Wadyajena, said Zimbabwe needed the private and public sectors to act responsibly in order to improve agricultural productivity.
“State programmes cannot be abused for self-enrichment. It simply will not do. Initiatives such as command agriculture and presidential input scheme, which are supposed to pull the smallholder up, suffer in the hands of those without scruples,” he said.
Wadyajena commended the research work being gone by Seed Co.
“I have no doubt that members of my committee now have a great appreciation of the vital role of agriculture research in both the growth of Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector and, ultimately, our economic development,” he said.
The issue of more agro dealers was also stressed by the agriculture committee so as to allow easy access to seeds, especially to areas far from urban areas.
Seed Co managing director Denias Zaranyika also said the company was in the process of developing rice seeds to stop the import of the cereal.
“We are in the process of coming up with rice seed that will adapt well with the weather conditions in Zimbabwe. This is our second year into the rice project and we want to produce the best seed,” he said.