Vice President Rtd Gen Constantino Chiwenga yesterday declared that no-one in Zimbabwe should ever suffer again.
Speaking in Insiza, Mat South, Gen Chiwenga announced $300million facility for farmers to boost production.
Gen Chiwenga said the Government has set aside $80 million to kick start the livestock programme with the remaining $220 million funding expected to be drawn from the private sector.
“Government has since identified the need for funding to the tune of over $300 million for the Special Livestock, Fisheries and Wildlife Programme. In this regard, the $220 million of the required US$300 million total support package of the programme would be sourced from the private sector, while the balance will be funded by the Government.
“I am pleased to advise you that to kick start this programme, Government has already set aside $80 million towards this livestock programme which will, among other things, enable the National Parks to demarcate red and green zones. The aforesaid will inevitably go a long way in controlling the spread of Foot and Mouth Disease and curtail the domestic and wildlife conflict,” said VP Chiwenga.
He said upon realising the benefits of the Command Agriculture-Special Maize and Wheat programme supported to the tune of $180 million by Sakunda Holdings, Government approved and extended the initiative to Livestock, Fisheries and Wildlife Management. The Special Maize and Wheat Programme culminated in delivery of more than 1,2 million tonnes of maize and 181 519 tonnes of wheat to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) in the 2016/17 season.
“Following the success of the first initiative of Command Agriculture in maize production and other cereals, the Command Livestock initiative aims to stimulate vibrancy by addressing key supply chains for facilitation. These include the beef, dairy, goat and poultry value chains,” said VP Chiwenga.
He said the beef value chain was expected to support the revival of the Cold Storage Company (CSC) which is the country’s key export processor of beef with the same chain feeding into the leather supply chain and a number of by products with high export potential.
“The dairy value chain which had initiated its own measures for revival is also set to scale up to ameliorate the local milk products supply deficit, while looking at expending its export base. Similarly, the live goat and goat meat value chain where there is growing interest and demand both locally and abroad presents further opportunities for the growth of the sector.
“In the same breath, the niche free range poultry value chain which has yet to satisfy an emergent local demand and expressed Chinese interest should be fully exploited for the benefit of the locals including rural small scale farmers. The programme will also be extended to focus on the pig, table eggs and broiler poultry value chains,” said VP Chiwenga.
He said while the Government and the private sector are coming in with resources to prop up the programme, farmers are expected to create their own resilient capabilities and capacities to ensure sustainability. To support the Livestock, Fisheries and Wildlife Management Programme, Sakunda Holdings has offered an initial funding of $10 million and two million chicks per month in support of the poultry sector.
“Out of the $10 million (offered by Sakunda), Government has set aside $5 million for Matabeleland South and $5 million for Matabeleland North provinces,” said VP Chiwenga.
He also said the partnerships between Government, Zimbabwe Agricultural Society (ZAS) and Zimplats was another milestone in the Special Livestock, Fisheries and Wildlife Public Private Partnerships programme.
“In this initiative, there is evidence of the mining and agriculture interface which has mainstreamed mining into the general economy and increased the participation of miners in national agriculture-based economic development. During the first phase of this programme, the ZAS, Zimplats and Government are targeting inseminating 6 000 semen straws into a livestock population of 3 600 anticipated to produce 1 800 bulls and 1 800 heifers,” said VP Chiwenga.
The second phase will increase the total semen straws to 16 000.
“The broader Government objective is to adequately meet the domestic demand and service export markets. This will, no doubt improve and sustain the livelihoods of our people through job creation and higher incomes. The success of this special programme will be anchored enterprise financing, skills and knowledge development for the farmer.
“Equally critical is the role played by regulatory and service support authorities in ensuring high product quality and competitiveness as well as effective marketing and sustainable trade. In the process, we hope to address the challenges of our national nutritional food and non-food industries, thereby creating income streams and growing our agricultural economy,” said VP Chiwenga.
To further enhance the Livestock, Fisheries and Wildlife Programme the Public Private Partnerships will be supported through favourable conditions under the Livestock Finance Schemes, Joint Ventures, Out-grower or contract production, Cattle Grazer Schemes (through CSC) and Processor Financing.
“Farmers as primary producers will access loans with three to five-year tenure at a modest comprehensive interest rate of four percent per annum. Processing establishments, some of which are experiencing challenges, especially State Owned Enterprises such as the Cold Storage Company and those in the dairy sector will, in the process, be revitalised,” said VP Chiwenga.
He said good corporate governance was critical for the success of the programme thus constant evaluation and monitoring would become a key tenet.
“In terms of management and oversight, the programme will be implemented and monitored through the current National Integrated Command Agriculture Taskforce which falls under the Office of the President and Cabinet. I am pleased to advise that His Excellency the President gave me the mandate to superintend over this onerous but surmountable task.
“Within this broad implementation, monitoring and evaluation structure, there is a Thematic Committee on livestock production that is charged with providing expert advice and making recommendations to the task force on livestock matters. This structure will be adopted at provincial, district and local levels, mirror the already existing structures on the special programme on maize production for import substitution,” said VP Chiwenga.
Speaking at the same function Agriculture, Lands and Rural Resettlement Minister Retired Air Chief Marshall Perence Shiri said beneficiaries of agricultural programme should bear in mind that the facility was a loan and should be in a position to repay within the stipulated period.
Also present at the occasion was Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo, Minister of State for Provincial Affairs for Matabeleland South Province Abednico Ncube, Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet and Chairman of the National Integrated Command Agriculture Taskforce Mr Justin Mpamhanga and the traditional leadership from Matabeleland South, among others. – state media/Additional reporting