Zim to repossess under-used land
Kaukonde said a considerable number of farmers in the province were allocated properties endowed with dams, boreholes and agricultural equipment, which they were not utilising to benefit the nation. “We will not hesitate to remove farmers who are not utilising water in the dams and mechanised equipment in the production of wheat,” he said as he urged the farmers in the province to embark on massive winter wheat production. Mashonaland East has a target to plant at least 15,000 hectares of winter wheat, an increase of 5,000ha from last season’s target. “We want all our farmers to produce because we want to avoid importing wheat. Reliance on imports means we will forever be importing inflation,” he said. Kaukonde said he would tour the province to ensure that all farmers adhered to the directive, noting that government’s land reform programme could have benefited the wrong people. He said Mashonaland East has at least 30,000ha of irrigable land of which 13,000ha were ready for planting while 7,000ha needed minor attention and the other 10,000ha required massive rehabilitation. He said all districts with the exception of Mudzi and Mutawatawa should plant wheat. In a related matter, Kaukonde bemoaned the virtual state of collapse of the beef industry in the province, saying the Cold Storage Company abattoir in Marondera was lying idle because farmers were not selling their cattle for slaughter. “We want to resuscitate the industry in the traditional beef cattle districts of Hwedza and Chikomba. Farmers should take advantage of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe support scheme on livestock restocking,” he said. ‘ The Herald.