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Online applications to prevent farming inputs abuse – Chronicle

The Chronicle

Nqobile Tshili/Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Chronicle Reporters
GOVERNMENT has come up with an online inputs distribution system specifically designed to prevent the abuse of the agricultural inputs under the Presidential Inputs Scheme ahead of the 2022/23 summer cropping season.

In the past, there have been reports of inputs abuse allegedly by some officials in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Development. In some cases, the officers deliberately omit names of qualifying farmers, excluding them from benefiting from Government’s Pfumvudza Input scheme.

In June, President Mnangagwa fired Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Development Deputy Minister Douglas Karoro following his arrest on charges of misconduct after he allegedly defrauded the Presidential Inputs Scheme of US$73 300 worth of inputs.

Deputy Minister Douglas Karoro

Several cases of inputs abuse are widespread and, in some cases, individuals have been nabbed for channelling inputs to the market.

Some beneficiaries of the programmes have also been selling the inputs, such as fertilisers, while others diverted them towards production of commodities outside the contracts.

In terms of Statutory Instrument 274 of 2018, it is a criminal offence to be found in possession of any agricultural inputs in excess of what the farmers need, unlawful sale, purchase and possession of agricultural produce or contracted crop and the misuse of farm inputs.

In an interview yesterday, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Development Permanent Secretary Dr John Basera said the online distribution application will address the abuse of inputs.

“In previous seasons, some agricultural extension officers were fingered in this scam of abusing inputs. In light of that, the ministry has come up with a raft of measures, which include an online input distribution application developed to monitor the distribution,” he said.

Dr Basera said all farmers will be registered and a verifiable online register will trace accountability.
He said the ministry will be taking Global Positioning System (GPS) co-ordinates where work is being done. Reports will then be produced online and verified at every stage of inputs distribution through their head office.

Dr Basera said apart from online distribution surveillance, the Government had established inputs distribution committees at community level to enhance transparency.

“Pursuant to the whole of Government approach, input distribution committees comprising local leadership, political leadership, security agencies, other ministries, departments and agencies have been set to enhance transparency and accountability,” he said.

“The other fundamental strategy is to ensure that inputs are only distributed to beneficiary households who would have adopted the key principles of conservation agriculture namely holing out, applying manure between June and August and mulching accumulation by September each year.”

The Government is targeting 3,5 million households countrywide to receive inputs for the 2022/23 farming season under the Climate-Proofed Presidential Inputs Scheme, popularly known as Intwasa/Pfumvudza.

Intwasa/Pfumvudza mode of farming

Government is targeting to produce three million tonnes of maize during the 2022/23 summer cropping season, with land preparation already underway.

This comes as the Second Republic has made food security a top priority and is working towards a US$8,2 billion agriculture industry economy, contributing 20 percent of GDP by 2025, underpinned by the country’s National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) — the driver towards Vision 2030 to make Zimbabwe an upper middle-class economy.

Money – Image taken from Pixabay

The country requires 2,2 million tonnes of maize for human and livestock consumption and the three million tonnes target will position Zimbabwe as a significant player in grain production in the region.

Intwasa is a concept aimed at climate proofing agriculture by adopting conservation farming techniques and involves use of small plots and applying the correct agronomic practices for higher returns.

Under the programme, each farming household will get an input package comprising 10kg maize seed, 5kg sorghum, 2kg pearl millet, 5kg soya beans, 2kg sunflower/castor beans (castor bean will be inter-cropped in the Intwasa crops) and 5kg sugar beans or 5kg cowpeas or roundnuts. The seed types and varieties will depend on the farming region. [email protected]

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agriculture

Russia’s Alrosa discovers 22 new diamond deposits in Zim – Mnangagwa – New Zimbabwe.com


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By Bloomberg News


Russian miner Alrosa PSJC has discovered 22 new diamond deposits in Zimbabwe, according to the southern African nation’s president, Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Alrosa will only be allowed to work on two of the diamond deposits, while the rest will be made available to other investors, Zimbabwe’s Information Ministry said, citing comments by Mnangagwa in New York at the weekend. The president attended a business meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

The Russian company declined an emailed request for comment.

In 2019, Alrosa signed an agreement with the state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corp. to jointly explore for gems in the country. At the time, the company said it would spend $12 million exploring some of the 40 diamond mining rights it holds in the country.

Many in the diamond industry refuse to deal in Russian gems following the invasion of Ukraine and after mining giant Alrosa was hit with US sanctions.

After returning to Zimbabwe on Tuesday, Mnangagwa said there was interest from US-based investors in a number of sectors including mining and agriculture. A group of those investors will come to the country next month to look at opportunities, the state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corp. reported.

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agriculture

EXPLAINER | US-Zimbabwe relations and targeted sanctions – News24

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa

PHOTO: Jekesai Njikizana, AFP

  • Eighty-three individuals and 37 entities are designated under the Zimbabwe sanctions programme.
  • The long-held argument by the ruling party is that the sanctions negatively affect trade and investment.
  • But the opposition says the ruling party is using the sanctions as an excuse for political failures.

African leaders have called for the removal of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by a law the United States Congress passed in 2001, during late Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe’s regime.

At the recent United Nations General Assembly (UNGA77) in New York, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and African Union chairperson Macky Sall, who is also the president of Senegal, spoke about the need to remove the restrictions imposed by the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 (Zedera).

Over the past three years, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has marked 25 October as Zimbabwe Anti-Sanctions Day, hosting solidarity marches in cities across the region.

However, the sanctions in Zimbabwe have divided opinion.

READ | US stands firm over sanctions on ‘increasingly repressive’ Zimbabwe despite lobbying by Ramaphosa

Members of the ruling party claim the restrictive measures have a direct effect on ordinary civilians and frustrate policy space for the government’s development plans.

But the opposition, which is accused of calling for sanctions on the country, feels the ruling party is using the sanctions as an excuse for its political failures and for political mileage.

According to the US Embassy in Zimbabwe, the sanctions are “targeted financial sanctions against select members of Zimbabwe’s ruling elite for undermining democratic processes, abusing human rights or facilitating corruption”.

Man with makeshift cart to transport water

Tap water supply is unreliable in Chitungwiza in Harare. Some people now make a living carrying water for residents.

GroundUp Joseph Chirume, GroundUp

Thus, the US has, in the past, made it clear that it supports Zimbabweans’ push for the restoration of democracy, respect for human rights and better governance, as defined in the country’s 2013 constitution.

The US Embassy argues that “sanctioned members of the ruling elite continue to undermine Zimbabwe’s democratic processes and institutions, commit human rights abuses related to repression, and engage in corruption.

“For these reasons, successive administrations have renewed the sanctions against those who continue to undercut Zimbabwe’s democracy.”

The long-held argument by the ruling party is that sanctions negatively affect trade and investment.

However, the US says that’s not true.

“US sanctions against the ruling elite do not block trade and investment with non-sanctioned individuals and entities. At present, 83 individuals and 37 entities are designated under the Zimbabwe sanctions programme,” Molly Phee, US State Department Assistant Secretary for African Affairs argued in an op-ed in March this year.

Data shows that trade between Zimbabwe and the US stands well above R1.4 billion and that as of last year, there was a US Department of Commerce-supported trade mission to Zimbabwe.

In comparison, this is more than Zimbabwe’s export receipts to Botswana (R651 million) and exports to Zambia (R1.2 billion) according to figures from the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC).

Since Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980, the US has been the single-biggest donor country.

Informal traders line the road that links Bindura

Informal traders line the road that links Bindura Town and the long-haul bus terminus. Among them are Zimbabweans who have returned from South Africa.

GroundUp Joseph Chirume, GroundUp

It accounts for R59.5 billion, covering health, humanitarian and development assistance, such as agriculture and livelihood sustainability.

For the Covid-19 pandemic, the US provided more than R816 million in support.

The US argues that for sanctions to be removed, “the Mnangagwa government can show the world that its citizens live in a safe, prosperous, equitable country regardless of their political views”.

“Let all Zimbabweans feel free to offer their fullest potential and work to build a stronger, more prosperous and more inclusive society.”

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.


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agriculture

R1,3 million windfall for Gwanda irrigation scheme – The Herald

The Herald

Elton Manguwo

SMALLHOLDER farmers at Sebasa Irrigation Scheme in Gwanda have started enjoying benefits from the Smallholder Irrigation Rehabilitation Programme after raking in an income of R1, 3 million from their integrated farming operations in seven months.

As calls for farmers to adopt modern agribusiness practices reach fever pitch, the Sebasa Irrigation Scheme has become the business model the Government is pushing for through the transformation of rural agriculture.

“The scheme, which is equipped with a state of the art solar powered irrigation system and a sand abstraction system is fully operational and functional and farmers are able to produce different crops all year around,” chief director Agricultural Advisory and Rural, Development Services, Professor Obert Jiri observed recently.

Besides being focused on national food security the Government through the irrigation scheme has been able to create a symbiotic relationship with farmers whereby it achieves its production targets whilst the farmers are set to benefit from the value chain as the Sebasa irrigation scheme is set to realise six tonnes of wheat benefiting 60 households.

The irrigation scheme’s location right at the outskirts and deep corner of the country envisages and captures the Government’s thrust of inclusive involvement of everyone in the development processes.

“The irrigation scheme is situated a kilometre from the Botswana border and this echoes the President’s mantra of leaving no one and no place behind as the nation journeys towards the attainment of an upper middle income economy by 2030,” stressed Professor Jiri.

Prof Obert Jiri

Sebasa Irrigation Scheme in Ward 24 of Gwanda district was first established in 1968 then rehabilitated in 2021 after several years of inactivity. The 64-hectare scheme has 112 members.

The Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Dr Anxious Masuka also stressed that the outcome of these result oriented projects directly impacted and accelerated the attainment of Vision 2030 when he addressed attendees at the Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) conference in Gweru recently.

In addition, the Ministry has made key interventions such as the formation of the Irrigation Development Alliance to create an enabling environment for accelerated rural agriculture development in the irrigation subspace.

Irrigation development has been identified as a key accelerator towards uplifting people from poverty. With 60 percent of the population residing in the rural areas, the establishment of irrigation schemes will play a pivotal role in boosting agricultural production and maximise productivity.

The Government under the National Accelerated Irrigation Rehabilitation and Development Programme has commenced the resuscitation of communal irrigation schemes nationwide, which is a key enabler to small-scale farming economies.

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