By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent
GOVERNMENT is not going back on downsizing farms belonging to unproductive farmers and redistribute them to other deserving beneficiaries.
The warning was issued by Mashonaland West Minister, Mary Mliswa-Chikoka during a field day held at Reinfield farm in Makonde district Tuesday.
Mliswa-Chikoka said farmers facing challenges in fully-utilising their land should consider entering into contract farming or partnerships.
“We are going to identify farms that are not being fully-utilised and downsize them so that farmers who are facing challenges in terms of inputs are left with hectarages they can manage,” said Mliswa-Chikoka.
She also urged farmers to seek agricultural knowledge and expertise from extension workers in order to boost productivity and guarantee national food security.
“The quest for food security is government’s chief priority. This was the agenda of the late Chief Air Marshall Hon. Perrance Shiri, our former Minister of Agriculture.
“You and I must be compelled to honour the legacy of this fine son of the soil by ensuring that all farms become productive, thus making us a food-secure nation. I am informed that the winter wheat season is on-going and a total of 14 810 hectares have been established in the province,” said Mliswa-Chikoka.
“Here in Makonde district, 4 261ha have been contracted for command (agriculture), and a total of 3 489ha was the actual land with wheat under command (agriculture) and 721ha have been planted using private funds.
“It is positive to note that the wheat has been planted this season is 36% more than what was established in the previous season,” she added.
Last year, there were 9 300ha under wheat against the 14 810ha grown this year.
Reinfield farm owner, Farai Chirinda, said he was undertaking raw cropping and livestock production in his endeavour to help in the nation’s food security.
“We need to take agriculture seriously and to revive the breadbasket status of our nation,” said Chirinda.
He said that he put 200ha under winter wheat, which he hoped would have a good yield, considering that there was an uninterrupted electricity supply.
Technical partners, who included representatives of seed houses, fertiliser companies, financiers, among others, attended the field day.