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'Sanctions were a blessing in disguise,' says Gono

by Staff reporter
19 May 2013 at 06:05hrs | Views
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr Gideon Gono has described the illegally imposed sanctions by some Western countries as a blessing in disguise as the move opened up some new avenues for him to engage in the production of locally consumed products that are beneficial to Zimbabweans.

Addressing a group of visiting Ugandan parliamentarians during a tour of his farm along Mutoko Road on Friday, Dr Gono, who is also the managing director of Lunar Chickens, said prior to the imposition of the embargo which saw him being put on the travel ban in 2000, he was a successful horticulture farmer with his produce finding its way onto the international market.

However, things changed for the worse after the travel ban as his farm produce was also banned on the international market. This saw production on the farm going down thereby forcing him to venture into new avenues of rearing chickens.

"When they put me on sanctions, production on my farm went down to zero since they were now refusing to buy my horticulture products but that was the dawn of a better idea where I then ventured into chicken rearing," Dr Gono said.

He said he was glad that the sanctions gave him a rude awakening as he immediately came up with a new idea that benefited the local people, that of chicken production.

He said he acquired his farm way back in 1998 before the land reform programme. His success on the farm saw him wishing to assist other black Zimbabweans who were into farming to also succeed in their ventures. That was how he derived the idea to mechanise the whole country when he was appointed Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor.

"I bought my land before the land reform programme and given that I was doing it successfully, it became an idea to mechanise the whole country and empower the majority when I was appointed Reserve Bank Governor,'' he said.

Dr Gono said the Microfinance Bill which was still before Parliament could be used to empower even those without much land as they were able to engage in ventures that could realise profits quickly and thus be able to pay back the loans.

"If you want to empower people in the mining sector they must wait until at least fours years to get some profits, for tobacco at least a year while for chickens it is just 40 days and which can be easy for those without much land," he said.

Global Poultry consultant Mr Peter Ramgolam, who was among the touring delegates, expressed his appreciation of Dr Gono's successful venture, saying it was impressive to see that blacks were doing well on the farms.

"Although production differs from one place to the other, what you see at Dr Gono's farm is exceptionally impressive. This is a true example of how the blacks are managing on the farms in Zimbabwe. I have travelled to a lot of countries and what we see here at Dr Gono's farm resembles the world-class standards," said Mr Ramgolam.

One of the Ugandan parliamentarians from Kalunga East constituency, Mr Vincent Ssempijja, said what they had witnessed at Dr Gono's farm was far removed from the negative stories they read in the media in recent years.

"We heard that Zimbabweans almost died due to sanctions but now I am proud to see that our black folk were able to steer their country. Since Uganda has a similar past as that of Zimbabwe, the idea of empowering our masses is a good one which we hope we would be able to do as successfully as you have done it here," said Hon Ssempijja.

He said he was glad to see the situation on the ground and see how Zimbabweans who benefited from the land reform programme were utilising the land.

Source - sunday mail