Zimbabwe has “immense potential to become Africa’s breadbasket”, the country’s vice president Constantine Chiwengwa has reportedly said.
Chiwengwa said this in a speech read on his behalf at the official opening of the Victoria Falls Agricultural Show, said the state-owned Sunday News.
Chiwenga said that if farmers embraced government policies such as the “Command Agriculture and maximise use of local resources”, Zimbabwe would regain its status as the continent’s breadbasket.
He challenged farmers to “produce for export and contribute towards the 2030 vision for an upper middle class economy”.
A report by the Herald newspaper quoted President Emmerson Mnangagwa in May this year as saying that Zimbabwe ended hunger after the introduction of the Command Agriculture programme.
The main aim for the Command Agriculture programme was to ensure self-food sustenance after which exports would follow to help the country earn the much needed foreign currency.
“As the country continued to face persistent years of drought, we sat as government and said we are a blessed country tucked between Zambezi and Limpopo river so why droughts? We then thought of command agriculture and… the country is doing well in food security,” Mnangagwa was quoted as saying at the time.
This vague narrative, Africa Check said, gave an impression that Zimbabwe lost its “breadbasket” status during former President Robert Mugabe’s tenure.
“While Mugabe’s land reform programme seemingly contributed to a decline in Zimbabwe’s agricultural output, there’s limited evidence to suggest that the country was a dominant player in Africa’s food production prior to
that period – at least from a staple food production perspective,” the report said.