By Ndafadza Madanha
THE farm Mechanisation Programme initiated by the ZANU PF Government under the auspices of the Reserve Bank Zimbabwe (RBZ) in 2007-8 was an empowerment programme intended to enhance production capacity of farmers hence beneficiaries were not expected to pay back what they received.
Equally the ruling Party has no apologies to make for the Land Reform exercise as it successfully resettled over 360 000 households under the A1 and A2 schemes. Many men and women were killed and maimed while fighting to free the country from colonial rule which had made the indigenes of this country displaced to unfertile reserves.
In a statement ZANU PF acting Secretary for Information, Publicity and National Spokesperson Cde Patrick Chinamasa, said efforts by known opposition activist Dr Alex Magaisa, to scandalize the initiative is a brazen attack on the Land Reform Exercise and efforts to economically empower the indigenous black majority.
“”The Farm Mechanisation Programme was undertaken as an empowerment tool for the farmers and was not a loan but a subsidy. The allegation by Dr Alex Magaisa rubbishing the State Interventions of the nature carried out under very difficult circumstances are a frontal and brazen attack on the Land Distribution Programme,” Cde Chinamasa said.
“They are a direct attack on the building initiatives for new farmers by Government in more similar programs by successive Rhodesian Government from 1923 which solely favoured whites and completely discriminated the majority blacks.”
Cde Chinamasa said the stance taken by Magaisa is not surprising as his MDC party is a creation of the British establishment which to this day, still remains vehemently opposed to the Land Reform Exercise.
He said support extended to farmers by Government is consistent with interventions by other Governments the world over.
“Governments the world over subsidizes farmers. The key ingredient in agricultural policies the world over, is to produce food and raw materials to feed into the manufacturing sector more cheaply,” Cde Chinamasa said.
“Programmes of subsidy include mechanisation, fertilisers, farm infrastructure such as irrigation. This is a major policy in most countries including China, USA, Russia, India etc. Zimbabwe should not be an exception more so, in an evolving situation where the country has a new crop of farmers previously discriminated against.”