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    Friday, 28 October 2016

    Masvingo Command Agriculture fails to meet target – Minister



    • Matanga orders Police to arrest people illegally selling land

    NKULUMANI MLAMBO

    MASVINGO - Only 900 out of a target of 4 000 farmers have been registered for support under the Command Agriculture Scheme in Masvingo, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development responsible for cropping, Davis Marapira has said.
    Marapira said this at a Zanu PF meeting held at Masvingo Grounds where delegates were discussing the issue of illegal settlers eviction.
    He said the reason why Masvingo could not meet even half its target was because most irrigation schemes in the province have been vandalised by illegal settlers. The illegal settlers have also caused serious siltation of rivers and dams resulting in most sources of water drying up.
    Farmers who are being considered for command agriculture are only those doing farming under irrigation.
    "In the Province the target was to have 4 000 farmers registered under the command agriculture but that will no longer be possible because of massive siltation on major supply dams like Mutirikwi and Mushandike.
    "This has been largely caused by farmers who have been haphazardly settled by greedy lands officers like Mugavazi in my constituency (Masvingo North) who is in the habit of allocating plots without proper procedure.
    "The other problem is vandalism of the irrigation equipment by illegal settlers in the areas earmarked for command agriculture," said Marapira.
    Mugavazi could not be reached for a comment as his mobile phone went unanswered up to the time of going to Press. Marapira said in the Mushandike irrigation scheme there are over 1000 illegal settlers who were allocated land by corrupt village heads and land officers from the Ministry of Lands.
    In Masvingo only those with irrigation facilities are eligible for command agriculture because the province falls under region five which does not receive much rainfall.
    The meeting was also attended by Deputy Commissioner General Godwin Matanga who tasked the local Police through Assistant Commissioner Coneli Dube who was also in attendance to arrest those who sell land and their beneficiaries as soon as they are identified.
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