Food imports embarrassing: Nkomo
by Staff Reporter
VICE President John Nkomo has said Zimbabwe must produce enough grain to
meet its needs within two years to bring an end to the “perennial
embarrassment” of surviving on food imports .
Nkomo told a field day in Murehwa that Zanu PF had established a production
and labour department to lead efforts to boost agricultural production and
end costly imports of grain from the region.
“We want to end the embarrassment of perennially surviving on food imports
from such countries as Malawi and Zambia that used to depend on us for their
food security,” Nkomo said in a speech read by a senior Zanu PF official.
“They have even been learning from us, so we cannot stand that reality of
importing food from them, yet we have the human resources to turn around
everything and start producing competitively.”
The United Nations World Food Programme recently said about 1.6 million of
the country's estimated 12 million people would need food aid this year due
to poor harvests.
The number is 60 percent higher than the one million who needed food
assistance last year, with most of them living in rural areas.
Once a regional breadbasket, Zimbabwe has faced perennial food shortages in
recent years following a slump in food production partly blamed on President
Robert Mugabe's controversial land reforms.
The majority of the beneficiaries of the reforms lacked the skills and means
for large-scale farming, and were given little support from the government.
But Nkomo said the farmers must stop coming up with excuses and start making
productive use of the land.
“The land was the major reason we waged the liberation war, yet 32 years
after independence, people have not yet started fully exploiting it,” he
“Yes, for the majority it is a matter of failing to access resources, but
there has to be the individual effort and innovation to boost productivity
and justify the implementation of the agrarian revolution.”
Dzikamai Mavhaire, Zanu PF secretary for production added: “The time for
slogans and singing war songs has since passed. What we are facing now is a
new but different war.
“It is a war whose weapon is the hoe, so we must act like real business
people. Zanu PF will not tolerate laziness.”