Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
UPON being appointed minister, Cde Richard Moyo has not been sitting on his laurels.
Visiting the Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs Minister’s Marsland Farm in Umguza, one is bound to conclude that he is not only driving the implementation of Government programmes in the province, but he also wants to be part of the success story.
Minister Moyo made a strategic decision to live on his farm in Umguza district to drive production, waking up at 5AM to work on the farm before leaving to start his official duties at 8AM at Mhlahlandlela Government Complex in Bulawayo.
Everyday, his truck leaves the farm to deliver produce at the market in Bulawayo.
The Minister has planted wheat on 23 hectares of land and is due to deliver about 80 tonnes of maize to the Grain Marketing Board after a successful 2020/21 farming season.
He is in the process of harvesting onions and 40 000 heads of cabbage and is due to plant 60 000 seedlings of cabbages. Minister Moyo has started planting 30 000 plants of tomatoes, maize, butternuts and is preparing to plant potatoes. He said most of his horticulture crops are planted with the festive season in mind as citizens will be merry making.
The Minister is also on an experimental course of farming fish and has prepared a fishpond accommodating 16 000 fingerlings which he was expecting to be delivered yesterday.
He is also involved in a piggery joint venture and is breeding more than 200 pigs.
While he spends most of the day busy with Government programmes be it in Bulawayo where his office is located or assessing implementation projects in Matabeleland North, at the back of his mind, he thinks of his farming venture.
Yesterday, Chronicle visited Minister Moyo at his very productive farm in Umguza and he took the news crew on a tour of the property.
The Minister, who is also Zanu-PF provincial chairman and Umguza MP said he wakes up at 5AM to work on his farm before going to work in Bulawayo.
Minister Moyo believes that he is fulfilling the Government thrust of ensuring that the country achieves food security and contributes to import substitution.
Minister Moyo is serious about farming knowing fully well that it pays dividends if one is fully dedicated to it.
He sells his produce in Victoria Falls and Hwange with most of his crops taken to markets in Bulawayo.
Minister Moyo said in December he expects to rake in millions of dollars after selling his wheat to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB).
“Farming is very important to me and almost everything that I have is a result of farming. I employ 50 workers who support their families. Before we even think of the commercial output, we get most of our food on the farm. There is little to buy especially when you are productive at the farm. We will soon be delivering 80 tonnes of maize to the GMB and come December when our wheat is ripe, I expect to make millions of dollars,” he said.
“This is part of my efforts to complement Government and reduce importation of grain which has seen us as a country losing a lot of foreign currency which under normal circumstances should be channeled towards other necessities.”
Minister Moyo commended President Mnangagwa’s Command Agriculture Programme, saying it is empowering farmers to fully utilise their farms even when they are resource-constrained.
He said as Government supports farmers through provision of farming inputs, it was critical for farmers to also repay their loans.
“We are grateful to the President for introducing the Command Agriculture Programme because through it we get inputs. So, when we deliver our produce to the GMB, Government deducts what it would have supplemented the farmers with. It’s a loan facility. It is unfortunate that some farmers after getting inputs from Government, they want to be involved in side marketing of their harvest as opposed to delivering to the GMB,” he said.
“I want to encourage farmers that after benefiting from Command Agriculture Programme, they have to repay their loans for the project to remain self-sustainable.”
Minister Moyo said his horticulture produce is sold in Bulawayo, Hwange and Victoria [email protected]