US$300m kitty for expanded Command programme

Dumisani Nsingo
Government has unveiled a us$300 million facility for the Special Livestock, Fisheries and Wildlife Programme, meant to improve agriculture production and ensure the country continue to be food self-sufficient.

Speaking at the launch of the programme at Gwatemba Business Centre in Insiza, Matabeleland South Province yesterday, Vice President Retired General Dr Constantino Chiwenga said the programme was part of the trajectory of Government’s broad economic recovery and transformation concept, Zim-Asset.

He said Government had already set aside $80 million to kick start the livestock programme with the remaining $220 million funding expected to be drawn from the private sector.

“Government has since identified the need for funding to the tune of over $300 million for the Special Livestock, Fisheries and Wildlife programme,” said VP Chiwenga.

“In this regard, the $220 million of the required US$300 million total support package of the programme would be sourced from the private sector, while the balance will be funded by the Government.

“I am pleased to advice you that to kick start this programme, Government has already set aside $80 million towards this livestock programme which will, among other things, enable the National Parks to demarcate red and green zones.

“The aforesaid will inevitably go a long way in controlling the spread of Foot and Mouth Disease and curtail the domestic and wildlife conflict.”

The Vice President said Government was satisfied with the success of the Command Agriculture focusing on maize production, hence the move to expand the concept to Livestock, Fisheries and Wildlife management.

“Following the success of the first initiative of Command Agriculture in maize production and other cereals, the Command Livestock initiative aims to stimulate vibrancy by addressing key supply chains for facilitation. These include the beef, dairy, goat and poultry value chains,” said VP Chiwenga.

He said the beef value chain was expected to support the revival of the Cold Storage Company and drive beef exports.

VP Chiwenga said Government had partnered the Zimbabwe Agricultural Society (ZAS) and Zimplats to make the Special Livestock, Fisheries and Wildlife Public Private Partnerships programme a success.

“In this initiative, there is evidence of the mining and agriculture interface which has mainstreamed mining into the general economy and increased the participation of miners in national agriculture-based economic development,” he said.

“During the first phase of this programme, the ZAS, Zimplats and Government are targeting inseminating 6 000 semen straws into a livestock population of 3 600 anticipated to produce 1 800 bulls and 1 800 heifers,” said VP Chiwenga.

“The second phase will increase the total semen straws to 16 000.

“The broader Government objective is to adequately meet the domestic demand and service export markets.

Added the Vice President; “This will, no doubt improve and sustain the livelihoods of our people through job creation and higher incomes.

“The success of this special programme will be anchored enterprise financing, skills and knowledge development for the farmer.

“Equally critical is the role played by regulatory and service support authorities in ensuring high product quality and competitiveness as well as effective marketing and sustainable trade.”

To further enhance the Livestock, Fisheries and Wildlife Programme the Public Private Partnerships will be supported through favourable conditions under the Livestock Finance Schemes, Joint Ventures, Out-grower or contract production, Cattle Grazer Schemes (through CSC) and Processor Financing.

Vice President Chiwenga said good corporate governance was critical for the success of the programme  “In terms of management and oversight, the programme will be implemented and monitored through the current National Integrated Command Agriculture Taskforce which falls under the Office of the President and Cabinet,” he said.

“I am pleased to advise that His Excellency the President gave me the mandate to superintend over this onerous but surmountable task. Within this broad implementation, monitoring an evaluation structure, there is a Thematic Committee on livestock production that is charged with providing expert advice and making recommendations to the task force on livestock matters.  “This structure will be adopted at provincial, district and local levels, mirror the already existing structures on the special programme on maize production for import substitution.”

Speaking at the same function the Minister of Agriculture, Lands and Rural Resettlement Retired Air Chief Marshall Perance Shiri said beneficiaries of agricultural programmes should repay loans extended to them within the stipulated period.

Also present at the occasion was Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo, Minister of State for Provincial Affairs for Matabeleland South Province Cde Abednico Ncube, Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet and Chairman of the National Integrated Command Agriculture Taskforce Mr Justin Mpamhanga and the traditional leadership from Matabeleland South.

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