Senior Business Reporter
THE Government has started mobilising resources to facilitate the smooth harvesting of grain that was planted under the Command Agriculture programme.
Following the Command Agriculture programme that was introduced in the 2016/17 cropping season, Zimbabwe expects a bumper harvest of about two million tonnes of maize this year from 400 000 hectares of land.
Traditionally, the harvesting season begins in April.
In preparation for the envisaged bumper harvest, the Government said it was inviting owners of harvesting equipment interested in hiring it out to approach their provincial Agritex offices.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development said in a notice:
“The Command Agriculture programme is inviting owners of the following: Combine harvesters, threshers/shellers and dryers who wish to register with provincial Agritex officers to contact the offices”.
Comment could not be obtained from Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Deputy Minister responsible for crop production Davis Marapira who said he was on leave before referring this paper to Minister Dr Joseph Made.
However, Dr Made was not answering his phone.
As part of efforts to guarantee food security, the Government plans to fund crop and livestock production to the tune of $1 billion over the next five years.
The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Mr Busisa Moyo is on record as saying capacity utilisation across the agro-processing value chain was bound to improve significantly on the back of the envisioned bumper harvest.
About 70 percent of Zimbabwe’s industries rely on acquiring critical raw materials required in the agriculture sector.
The agriculture sector contributes about 30 percent to the Gross Domestic Product while also accounting for over 60 percent of employment in the country.
Over the years, Zimbabwe has relied on importing critical raw materials required in the agro-processing sector.
The Government recently suspended grain imports as the nation has adequate strategic grain reserves to stretch up to the next harvesting season.