The Sunday Mail
Professor Jonathan Moyo received inputs worth around US$100 000 under Command Agriculture — and wants additional resources from the programme it has emerged.
This is despite the Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister repeatedly insulting the programme and calling it Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s “Command Ugly-Culture”. President Mugabe on Friday described Command Agriculture — which he revealed was the brainchild of First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe and VP Mnangagwa — as “beautiful”.
Now The Sunday Mail has established that Prof Moyo collected 105x25kg of maize seed, 1 600x50kg of compound D fertiliser, 1 030x50kg of ammonium nitrate fertiliser, and 2 500 litres of diesel last summer under Command Agriculture. He also got the following herbicides: 75 sachets of Stella Star, 200 litres of glyphosate, 100 sachets of nicosulfuron and 200 sachets of halosulfuron.
The inputs — worth US$98 365 — went to his Elephant Trust Farm (formerly Patterson) in Mazowe, producing a bounteous crop that authorities have hailed as one of the best under Command Agriculture. Information at hand shows Prof Moyo’s wife,Beatrice,last week requested more diesel from officials administering the programme in Mashonaland Central to enable the family to complete harvesting and deliver maize to the Grain Marketing Board.
Agriculture and Rural Extension Services Mashonaland Central Provincial officer Mr Stancilae Tapererwa told The Sunday Mail, “She is one of the farmers whom we are expecting to do well by delivering maize under Command Agriculture. These farmers signed contracts, which compel them to deliver maize to the GMB.
“Our hope is that farmers in Mashonaland Central will fulfil their contracts by delivering the maize. Mrs Moyo continues to support Command Agriculture despite her husband’s apparent hostility to the programme, which is surprising, really, given her level of commitment.”
Another officer said, “Mrs Moyo has shown that she fully supports the programme, even in her discussions with Arex officers. She goes regularly to their offices and has never indicated that she is against Command Agriculture. She appears ready to be part of the programme again next season. “We have started registering farmers for next season, and are expecting that she is going to be one of those who will benefit because the next phase will be better than the first.”
Government introduced Command Agriculture in 2016 to boost agricultural production while complementing the Presidential Well-Wishers Agricultural Inputs Support Scheme.
Grain was planted on nearly 300 000 hectares, with a harvest of over 2,7 million tonnes projected. At a Presidential Youth Interface Rally in Masvingo last Friday, President Mugabe described the initiative as “beautiful” and central to food security.
He said, “Saka takavamba Command Agriculture VaMnangagwa vataura kuti aiwa, idea yacho yakavambwa naFirst Lady yekubatanidza vanhu kuti: Hatingavabatanidze here sezvo taita dambudziko renzara, vanhu varime vakabatana?
“Vakagara pasi pahuviri hwavo tisingazive isu. Kusana kuinyora nekuitasanura pabepa ndokubva vazouya nayo nokuna VaMade nekunesu tese. Tikati, ‘Ah, yakanaka asi inozoda mari.’ Ko chitadzo chakava chipi ipapo? Vakatadzei VaMnangagwa?”