GOVERNMENT has shifted the onus to revive agriculture and feed the nation to A1 and communal farmers by supplying them with key inputs ahead of commercial farmers.
FONT face=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Presenting his third monetary policy statement yesterday, Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono said government would now shift attention from commercial farmers and give priority to resettled and communal farmers.
“In a bid to ensure food security, a facility of $1 trillion has been put in place to support A1 and communal farmers with seeds and fertiliser for growing maize and sorghum,” Gono said.
He said government had difficulties in sourcing foreign currency to import grain to feed the nation.
“We call upon all relevant arms of government to ensure that these funds are productively utilised, so as to guarantee food security, as well as forestall the potential inflationary effects of the disbursements.”
Over the past five years food imports have been gobbling up to 45% of Zimbabwe’s imports.
“It is against this background that we urge the nation to ensure that this season becomes a success, because a repeat of the food deficit we are experiencing this year will have serious consequences on the socio-economic and political wellbeing of the country,” Gono said.
“For all maize, rapoko, sorghum and other small grains grown and sold to the Grain Marketing Board, the RBZ is setting aside an import-substitution fund in the form of an incentive of $2 million/tonne for deliveries between February and May 2006 and $1,5 million/tonne for deliveries between June and July. The incentive will be over and above the selling price,” he said.
Gono also denounced the current wave of farm invasions and called on the authorities to take action against the criminals so as to attract investments.
“Our abhorrence against the reported current land invasions stems, not from diminished patriotism or revulsion towards land reform,” Gono said. “We support the landless people of this country. In so doing we are not blind to the fact that it was not land for the sake of having it and merely looking at it that mattered to our liberators. It was not about having vast pieces of land and using them as braai spots and weekend picnic venues.”
He said the liberation struggle and land reform sought to empower Zimbabweans economically through utilising the land’s potential to create jobs, generate foreign currency and produce food.
“That is how former holders of land used to employ that land; they used the land to economically empower themselves, their kith and kin, and hence, became a very powerful socio-economic bloc and political pillars of the government of the day.
“They also created institutions that ensured financing, logistics, training and proper land use, surveillance through the extension workers and land inspectors; things we are not doing efficiently today, hence the low yields of half a tonne per hectare.”
Gono said there was need to get rid of overt criminal practices such as the recent farm invasions which undermined the gains of land reform.
“Our collective tolerance for such retrogressive acts can only go to condemn and limit our capacity to attract investment in the key sectors of our economy,” he said.
He also said “successful investment attraction can only be achieved through unreserved assurance to the international investor community of utmost security of their assets”.