In a statement released this Wednesday, the Acting Secretary for Information and Publicity and Party Spokesperson, Patrick Chinamasa emphasised that the Farm mechanisation Programme undertaken by the government in 2007-2008 was an empowerment tool for the farmers and was not a loan but a subsidy.
Chinamasa was responding to comments by Dr Alex Magaisa on his Big Saturday Read site where he published a list of beneficiaries to the Farm Mechanisation Programme whom he alleged still owed the government as they never paid back the loans.
“Zanu-PF has no apologies to make for the Revolutionary Land Distribution programme embarked upon from 2000, it makes no apologies for the government interventions in the various sectors of the economy including the Farm mechanisation Programme to empower its new farmers in order to render the land Reform Programme successful,” reads the statement.
Chinamasa highlighted that the revolutionary land reform programme embarked upon by the Zanu-PF government from 2 000 to date has been a most powerful and effective tool for empowering the previously disadvantaged black population of Zimbabwe and has made the Zimbabwean population the most empowered population, postcolonialism, regionally and continentally.
“It is the revolutionary land reform programme that provoked the imposition of sanctions against Zimbabwe and undermined and devastated its economy. In response to the deteriorating economic situation, the government then adopted and implemented extraordinary interventions to address the prevailing situation,” he said.
Chinamasa noted that interventions by the government in the agricultural sector for new farmers include the Presidential Input Scheme, the Presidential Cotton Input Scheme, the Farm Mechanisation programme and Command Agriculture, and these interventions were tailored to capacitate the new farmer and render the Land Reform Programme a success.
“Zanu-PF is not surprised that Dr Magaisa is taking this posture. As a member of the MDC-T, he will be aware that his party was founded and funded by the British through the Westminister Foundation specifically to oppose the Land Redistribution Programme” reads the statement.
The party said the attack on capacity development interventions by the government aimed at enhancing productive farming as well as keep the economy afloat is an attack on the general Zimbabwean population.
Chinamasa highlighted that it must be noted that the empowerment programmes were not confined to agriculture but encompassed other sectors such as the Health sector Skills Retention Scheme, the BACOSSI empowerment programme among others.
“Governments the world over subsidise farmers….this is a major policy in most countries including China, USA, Australia, Europe, Russia and India, Zimbabwe should not be an exception more so in an evolving situation where the country had a new crop of farmers previously discriminated against,” said Chinamasa.