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Grace Mugabe urges farmers to utilise land fully

by Staff Reporter
26 Aug 2017 at 10:23hrs | Views

FIRST Lady Dr Grace Mugabe has urged beneficiaries of the country's land reform programme to utilise land fully for the benefit of the country, saying she supported Government's initiative to downsize farms, especially for unproductive farmers.

In an interview after touring various stands at the ongoing Harare Agriculture Show yesterday, the First Lady said land was a limited resource which should be shared among Zimbabweans.

"I would want us as a people to ensure that whatever land we are given we utilise it fully for our benefit as a nation and we should not leave the farms lying idle, it will be unfair to those who want a piece of land," she said.

"We know there are so many people who feel that they do not want to be left behind. They also want to be part of the agricultural community and are coming to apply for land. All those who have been given land must ensure that they utilise it fully.

"If they cannot, I support what the Government is doing now to ensure that the farms are downsized in order to incorporate those who did not get farms before. It is a good initiative according to my view because we must share this limited resource."

Dr Mugabe said Government had empowered its people by ensuring that they get back their land and the fruits of the programme were now evident.

She said the programme had been affected by successive droughts, but Government had programmes on the ground to ensure that people were empowered with all they required in order to utilise the farms.

"What happened last year was a real blessing to Zimbabwe," said Dr Mugabe. "We saw the heavens opening the floodgates and people were ready as usual.

We are looking at a bumper harvest that never happened in the past 16 years.

"This situation has not made our enemies happy because when we have the agriculture season doing well it means other sectors of the economy are going to do well. We have been told that there is also a projected growth in the economy."

Dr Mugabe said the nation was geared for another season and hailed women who were growing small grains which adapt to dry conditions.  She said when the land reform programme started she wanted to be a role model to those who got pieces of land and to those who wished to apply for land.

"When the land reform started, a lot of people were sceptical, they did not think it was a good thing," said Dr Mugabe. "Personally, I had to go and look for a piece of land where I could do what I had in mind. I got into dairy which is very difficult, but I wanted to show other women that there is nothing which is impossible if you put your mind to it. As the First Lady, I know some people were afraid, but it was a way of telling them not to be afraid for the land had been taken away from us."

Dr Mugabe said she had encountered a lot of challenges in the dairy business, but managed to grow the business, which is now boasting of 3 000 cows.

She said Gushungo Holdings was not benefiting her family only, but it had created jobs for the nation and the food required as milk was a very important aspect of diet.

"We produce a lot of products," said Dr Mugabe. "I emphasise to all those working in the factory to ensure when it comes to hygiene they do not cut corners. I tell them that what we are producing is meant for human consumption and we must ensure that at all times whatever we do in terms of handling the products that we manufacture there must be utter hygiene in that particular place.

"The Gushungo factory is a safe place. Whatever is produced there is actually fit for human consumption. We ensure that we are giving people what human beings should consume."

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Source - chronicle