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Government should reintroduce the farm mechanisation programme to enable the country to revolutionise the agriculture sector, Mberengwa East MP Cde Makhosini Hlongwane told Parliament on Wednesday. He said there was need to embrace a comprehensive agricultural revolution programme that would see among other things, the revival of Cold Storage Company.

Cde Hlongwane was contributing to a motion moved by Bindura South MP, Cde Remigio Matangira (Zanu-PF) calling for a proper agricultural financing mechanism that would boost productivity. “There is a difference between a land revolution and an agricultural revolution. Ours has not been an agricultural revolution, ours has been a land revolution,” said Cde Hlongwane.

“What we need to do to complement that very important process is to engage on a robust, well-thought out, well-articulated agricultural revolution, in which we begin to address the question of how do we proceed, given the new property relational matrices.”

He said another way was to capacitate agricultural extension workers whom he said had not been doing their work owing to absence of resources.

On mechanisation, he said there was need to retain the programme as part of a deliberate measure to boost output.

“Mechanisation in my view, is the most important imperative to transform the agricultural trajectory in our country. We continue to farm using medieval methods in our country without migrating from the artisanal tools and draught power that our ancestors have used previously,” he said.

“I agree that some measure or some modicum of payment must be made back to the fiscus the money that was spent out of the fiscus to purchase those pieces of equipment.”

Musikavanhu MP Mr Prosper Mutseyami (MDC-T) said he agreed that the land reform was now irreversible.

He expressed concern that black peasant farmers in Chipinge were losing land to ethanol producer Greenfuel.

Mr Billy Rautenback is the majority shareholder at Greenfuel.

“While I appreciate that the land reform programme as it stands, is no longer a reversible project, We have all this land which had been utilised for years by the blacks in the rural areas, all that land is being given to one individual white man and this land is being taken from the blacks in the rural areas to a tune of about 42 000 hectares in order for the investor to do sugar plantation,” he said.

Chegutu West MP Cde Dexter Nduna (Zanu-PF) said there was need to capacitate Agribank or to reintroduce African Finance Corporation.

Source : The Herald

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