Higher Education Minister Jonathan Moyo insists that the much-herald Command Agriculture project, which is officially known as the Special Maize Programme for Import Substitution, was a flop and is likely to yield only 600 000 to 750 000 tonnes.
Responding to yesterday’s article in the Sunday Mail which accused him of being a hypocrite by criticizing a programme from which he benefitted, Moyo said he stood by everything that he had said.
“The expected national maize harvest from Command Agriculture is projected, not assessed, at between 600 000 and 750 000 tonnes. Otherwise yes, this is a very promising maize season and the expected bumper harvest will come more from the Presidential Input Scheme, self-financing and other contract farming schemes than from Command Agriculture, this time round,” he said.
“Too many farmers did not get all the required inputs and when they got any, it was not on time or the inputs were not sufficient as per the contract.
“Consequently, the targets were not met as shown by the attached and self-explanatory summary of the state of Command Agriculture in Mashonaland Central Province present at VP Mnangagwa’s field day in Mt Darwin on 24 March 2017.”
He added: “For the avoidance of doubt, I standby everything I have said about the unanswered and very serious questions about the poor implementation of Command Agriculture and about the folly of public media lies that the Government has adopted a Command Economy. No amount of vilification will intimidate me to move from truth to lies.”
Below is his statement in full:
This statement is pursuant to the lead story in today’s Sunday Mail headlined, ‘Prof Moyo benefited from Command Agric’. In the afternoon of Friday 24 March 2017, I had a chance encounter at State House with Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa who had just returned from a Command Agriculture field day in Mt Darwin. As I greeted him, VP Mnangagwa immediately said he “did not know that I had one of the best maize crops at my farm in Mashonaland Central after receiving support from Command Agriculture” and that he “had over the farm by helicopter and seen the a yet was attacking programme”.
I advised the Honourable Vice President that I had not attacked Command Agriculture anywhere but that, based on my first hand knowledge in light of my family’s experience in Mazowe and the harsh experiences of other farmers, I had questioned the shockingly politicised and personalised misrepresentation and exaggeration of Command Agriculture by the Herald, Chronicle, Sunday Mail and Sunday News.
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