We need to grow more maize because people do not eat tobacco- MP


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Bindura South Member of Parliament Remigious Matangira says Zimbabwe should invest more into producing maize rather than tobacco because people do not each tobacco.

Matangira said though Zimbabwe had been devastated by sanctions, people would be a happier lot if they had enough food to feed themselves.

He said though tobacco benefitted the country, it benefitted countries that bought the tobacco more because they opened factories which were thriving while Zimbabwe sold tobacco leaf without any beneficiation.

Matangira said the best way to revive Zimbabwe’s agriculture was to give farmers credit for inputs and encourage them to pay their loans.

“Mr. Speaker Sir, as far as I am concerned with regards to agriculture, we need to subsidise the agricultural inputs so that an individual farmer will go and purchase these inputs at a cheaper price,” he said.

“Farmers should also have access to the funds from the banks. The banks will be responsible for going after defaulters. As government we need to go and practice peer education- advising people on paying back the loans which they will have accessed.

“That money will create a revolving fund and if you have failed to do that, we will confiscate your field for a period of sometime whereby Mai Sibongile will be farming on your farm until all the loans have been paid up and then your farm will be returned to you.

“The Whites were farming in this country before the Land Reform and I am one of those farmers who were there by that time. We had the Agriculture Finance Corporation, (AFC) which would go and offer the farmers the assistance.

“We had companies like the Windmill Fertilizer, these would come and give the farmer all the inputs the farmer needed and these would be repaid as the farmers sold his produce, because there was trust that the farmer would pay because he would be very reliable.

“I am urging this august House that we need to go and talk to our electorate and advise them there is wisdom in repaying our farming loans because there is an English saying which says once beaten twice shy. If banks are cheated by farmers this season, they will not offer any loans in the coming season.”

 

Full contribution:

 

*MR. MATANGIRA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for affording me the opportunity to make my contribution on the Presidential Speech delivered to us by His Excellency, Cde. R.G. Mugabe. I will start my speech from his conclusion. In his conclusion, His Excellency said even though we may have different opinions and views and also belonging to different political parties, the most important thing is that we are the people of Zimbabwe. My contribution is very different from what was said by previous speakers. I know there may be some people who may look down at my speech. In English, they say, ‘there is no need to cry over spilt milk’.

What we need to do is to look for solutions to the problems that are being faced by Zimbabwe. We are Parliamentarians and one of our roles is representation. We are representing the people who voted us into this House and we should formulate policies which improve their lives.

I will talk about nutrition and improvement of lives. It is very true that we are facing climate change, but as Zimbabwe, what are we doing about it? I would like us all, as Members of Parliament to come together and formulate policies because hunger has no discrimination and regardless of our political affiliation, our area of origin or religion, we will all suffer from hunger. Therefore, as a country we need not face the hunger scourge on an annual basis. We are now sourcing food imports from Malawi and yet we have the same fertile soils and climatic condition.

The President urged us to harvest water. We have also heard from the religious prophets, messages from God. If we follow these messages, our country will prosper. Our President is the Chair of the AU and yet our President is creating peace unlike us people who are pulling each other down instead of making progress in the House.

Mr. Speaker Sir, as far as I am concerned with regards to agriculture, we need to subsidise the agricultural inputs so that an individual farmer will go and purchase these inputs at a cheaper price. Farmers should also have access to the funds from the banks. The banks will be responsible for going after defaulters. As Government we need to go and practice peer education- advising people on paying back the loans which they will have accessed. That money will create a revolving fund and if you have failed to do that, we will confiscate your field for a period of sometime whereby Mai Sibongile will be farming on your farm until all the loans have been paid up and then your farm will be returned to you.

The Whites were farming in this country before the Land Reform and I am one of those farmers who were there by that time. We had the Agriculture Finance Corporation, (AFC) which would go and offer the farmers the assistance. We had companies like the Windmill Fertilizer, these would come and give the farmer all the inputs the farmer needed and these would be repaid as the farmers sold his produce, because there was trust that the farmer would pay because he would be very reliable.

I am urging this august House that we need to go and talk to our electorate and advise them there is wisdom in repaying our farming loans because there is an English saying which says once beaten twice shy. If banks are cheated by farmers this season, they will not offer any loans in the coming season. We are saying the rain season is upon us. In the meantime, we are not supposed to be finger pointing amongst us but we should be asking ourselves what have we put in place so that our farmers may go and borrow money for inputs. Whether you are A2 or A 1 they, should have access to the funds for their farming programmes. We were informed that there was an amount of US$1 billion which has been put aside as a fund to assist these farmers.

Mr. Speaker Sir, well people are saying it is a joke that we have no hunger and there are no sanctions. I think this is hiding our heads in the sand and it is high time we faced the truth. This US$1 billion should be utilised by tobacco farmers and as a result the factories in Indo-China and Europe and Asia, their factories will thrive because we will have exported our tobacco leaf without value addition. If we had implemented what we agreed in Maputo on the CAADP, those who attended that gathering did a lot of discussion on the topic, I was one of the people who were there.

One of the agreements made in Maputo is the agreement which we are following. If only 10% of that amount had been used in food production and tobacco used in these billions, we should be aware that the people of Zimbabwe do not feed on tobacco. Hence, we need to invest on maize. We may say we do not have money because of sanctions but we are self-sufficient in food and therefore we are a happy lot.

It is quite distressing that our fellow people; men and women are of a different biological nature, but they are brothers and sisters of the same family. What is happening in Africa, especially in a country like Zimbabwe, these people are denying that there are no sanctions in Zimbabwe and yet the leader of Zimbabwe was pleading with President Obama and saying please remove the sanctions and President Obama did agree indeed that the sanctions were going to be removed. How come we have some of our fellow Zimbabweans who are denying the existence of sanctions? Therefore, we are calling for the removal of sanctions for the progress of Zimbabwe.

His Excellency said we may belong to different political parties, I may take the example of the fruit of the azanza it has so many parts but they all come from the same stem. I plead with the people of Zimbabwe let us be fingers of a hand. The fingers are different but they belong to the same hand and when they work in unison there is progress. I thank you.

(74 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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