A top aide to ailing Vice president Constantino Chiwenga has admitted government had no clear plan following the compulsory acquisition of land at the turn of the millennium.
Minister of State in Chiwenga’s office Evyln Ndlovu told villagers at at Igogo Irrigation scheme in Kwekwe last week that there was need for proper planning around irrigation schemes if the country is to realise land reform program’s full potential.
“After we expropriated land from the white farmers we didn’t have a proper plan on how to go about the process,” Ndlovu said.
The intermittent drought, Ndlovu added were also playing havoc with the country’s agriculture hence the need to invest in irrigation.
“The problem is that we were relying on rain fed agriculture but its no longer sustainable because we are now experiencing inconsistent rainfall patterns.
“We are now plagued with droughts we are now getting poor rainfall and there is need for planning,” she said.
“We used to be a bread basket but that status is now long gone. We have decided as government to rescucitate the irrigation schemes. We need to look into irrigation schemes so that we will not rely on rain fed agriculture.”
Some five million Zimbabweans are facing starvation and in need of food aid. Ndlovu said Zimbabwe does not need to import grain if plans are put in place to produce well.
“There is need for us to be self sufficient in terms of food security currently we are importing grain from Zambia. Irrigation schemes are the way to go for us to be food secure. We don’t want to import grain anymore from Zambia. We don’t want grain importation anymore,” said Ndlovu.
Under former President Robert Mugabe the Zanu PF government embarked on compulsory acquisition of land from white farmers that it claimed was aimed at redressing colonial land imbalances. The result has been consistent grain shortages exacerbated by intermittent droughts.