‘Command Agriculture in Zimbabwe: Myths, Lessons and Future’
This was the title of a lecture delivered by the Acting President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and Midlands State University Fundraising Committee Co-patron, Honourable Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa on Wednesday the 10th of May 2017, during a public lecture held at Midlands State University’s Gweru Main Campus.
Addressing, academics, students, government officials as well as members of the public who were in attendance, the Acting President unpacked Command Agriculture and underscored its importance as a policy intervention by Government designed to bring about sustainable food security. He outlined the programme’s key pillars and underlying strategies and explained how these would result in enhanced agricultural production and productivity for the country.
Acting President Mnangagwa also went on to dispel several misconceptions about Command Agriculture, highlighting that the programme was voluntary and open to every Zimbabwean.
‘Contrary to the widely-held view that people are compelled to give up land, they actually join the programme voluntarily…’, said Hon. Mnangagwa.
During his lecture, the Acting President noted that whenever we sing the national anthem, we are praying for Command Agriculture, and our prayer is that
‘May rain abound and fertile fields;
May we be fed, our labour blessed:
And may the Almighty protect and bless our land’.
The Acting President also challenged universities such as Midlands State University and Agricultural Research institutions to take a leading role in agricultural research as well as in incubating agro-business projects.
Speaking at the same event, MSU Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor V N Muzvidziwa, said Midlands State University was deeply indebted to the Acting President, who is also its Fundraising Committee Co-patron for his enduring efforts both past and present to develop the University into a reputable and stakeholder driven institution of higher learning. Professor Muzvidziwa, also expressed gratitude to the Acting President for stimulating synergies between academics and government in a symbiotic manner.
For some people, Command Agriculture remains an abstract notion, but for many farmers who have already embraced Command Agriculture, it has become the difference between a nominal harvest and a bumper harvest. One of the programme’s objectives was to ensure food security and maize supply self-sufficiency when it was introduced in 2016 and to date in terms of maize volumes, this objective has already been achieved, with an excess of 2 million metric tonnes of maize projected for the 2016/2017 season.
According to the Acting President Mnangagwa, Command Agriculture is on an expansion course, which will also see the introduction of the Command Livestock Programme targeting beef, dairy and poultry production, and Command Aqua-Agriculture, among other programmes.
Those who attended the public lecture included, the Minister for Provincial Affairs in the Midlands Province, Cde J. M. K. Machaya, Minister of State in the Vice President’s Office, Hon. C. C. Sibanda, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cde S. Mumbengegwi, Deputy Minister of Energy and Power Development, Hon. T. Muzenda, the Director of Education and Training (MHTESTD), Mrs M Muguti, senior government officials as well as officials and students from sister institutions, and members of the public. Also in attendance were, the MSU Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Business and Administration, Professor, K. H. Wekwete, the Acting Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Research and Academic Affairs, Professor D. Z. Moyo and various members of the University community among them, Principal Officers, Faculty Executive Deans, staff, the Student Representative Council (SRC) and students.