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Zimbabwe's acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa has stressed that there is no excuse for farmers, especially those on the government's command agriculture scheme, to fail to produce and meet targets this season in view of the favorable rains the country is receiving.

Under the command agriculture programme launched this summer cropping season, the government is aiming to produce two million tonnes of maize on 400,000 hectares of land.

Farmers who opted to participate in the scheme are provided with inputs including seeds, fertilizers, chemicals and committed to meet a production target of a minimum of five tonnes per hectare.

The programme, being funded to the tune of more than 500 million US dollars, will run for the next three years.

Acting President Mnangagwa, who is spearheading the initiative, said its overall objective was to boost performance of Zimbabwe's agro-based economy.

The rains are good and the vital government support for farmers has been forthcoming therefore those of us who are on the land, let there be no excuse for none utilisation of the land, he said while addressing mourners at the burial of national hero, Peter Chanetsa, last Friday.

For those on the command agriculture programme, we expect you to deliver on the promise you made when you joined that programme.

He said at the end of each season, farmers under the scheme would be required to account for inputs they drew from the programme, some of which are reportedly being abused and sold on the black market.

Above all the nation expects you to justify your continued occupancy of the piece of land apportioned to you ahead of other Zimbabweans, the Acting President said.

We are currently receiving favourable rains which are conducive for good yields; let us therefore not miss this opportunity.

The Acting President said success of the agriculture venture would see the country regain its status as the bread basket of southern Africa.

In the long term, he said government will come up with a scientific land audit based mechanism whose objective will be to improve productive use of land that was given to hundreds of thousands of beneficiaries during the agrarian reforms in the early 2000s.

Poor planning and droughts have over the years seen the country struggling to attain food self-sufficiency, resorting to imports to cover its needs.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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