Latest News Editor's Choice


Opinion / Columnist

Barking at the wrong tree

19 Nov 2018 at 07:29hrs | Views
It all came down to me in the strangest place of all the places one can imagine. There I was, sitting in my Chinese class where I came to the realization that that My President - E.D Mnangagwa is barking at the wrong tree. Please indulge me as I try to qualify my argument.

The ‘Open for business' mantra from my point of view is too broad a term in the sense that you are jack of all trades. At the moment, the mantra is the main area of focus and if someone was to ask what you specialise in, no one knows your area of specialty or what it is you are succeeding in! In my opinion, he wants to be known as the jack of all trade but he is a master of none.

The one thing that's very abundant and available to almost every other Zimbabwean is land. What our heroes fought for and died for the land and we got it back in our hands under former president R.G.Mugabe (we all know about the land grab and redistribution that happened post 2000) How we got the land back was indeed fast tracked as the main motive behind giving people land was done but it lacked proper vision of what to do with the land and also the greed to remain in power which was the government's main motive.

History has already taught us that land attributed to some of the wars onn the African continent. He who has land has power is a very wise saying but he who knows how to use the land is in control. With the dynamics of power , you might be very powerful, but not in control (puppet leader) and in the same breath, you might be powerful, and be in control of everything making you a god so to speak. A valid example would be of the ongoing story of Kuda Tagwirei and how what is happening has entangled the Zimbabwean presidium.

Zimbabwe after gaining independence in 1980 was the bread basket of Africa. Stop and think what this means for a second. It meant that Zimbabwe was producing and providing food, majority of it went especially to the Southern African region and Mugabe was at the helm or driving that car everyone knew that its associated with food. This meant that all the nine SADC countries would depend on Zimbabwe for food. This would also mean that the government would make money through exporting food to other countries. That in itself was excellent however, fast forward that to post land grab and you have the bread basket being turned into a basket case. The basket casing is still there due to corruption.

So what happened after land redistribution? Well, people stopped producing from their farms because of a multitude of reasons but I am going to focus on only one and that is the misdirection of focus, energy and vision by the government after land redistribution.

Western countries cried foul when Zimbabwe decided to take back what belongs to her. They cried foul to an extent of imposing sanctions on her because she had claimed what rightfully belonged to her. This says a lot, wouldn't you agree? Soon after independence when we were occupied the white man was involved but did not focus their energy on the political side of governing.  Their energy was spent on how to make money through the use of land or farming. They were not organised but learnt through their mistakes how to be organised and the government of that time prioritised them by enacting rules and laws that would encourage and favour farming.

I grew up knowing that every other district had a D.D.F (District Development Fund). Let's say at a time there were at least 15 tractors. These tractors were available to those who would want to hire them for farming and they would get them at subsidised prices. There were also ‘mudhumeni' guys who would operate in their districts teaching people best farming practises. Those were the days of our lives. We currently have the DDF and `mudhumene' present, however they do not receive sufficient support or funding from the government. Instead of them being used to contribute to the growth and education of farmers, they are instead being used as political campaigners.

When white Zimbabweans realised that the levers of power were gone, for them remain significant, they had to be in control. Farming was their gateway to this control. He who controls your belly has power over you which is why you see people tend not to mess with where their bread is buttered. Through farming, not only did they realise that they were making money but that they were in control of the Zimbabwean economy.

If my president wants Zimbabwe to succeed his mantra and focus should change from Zimbabwe is open for business to Zimbabwe is open for farming. As Zimbabweans we also need to spend more time focusing on how to optimally use our land for maximum production. From how I look at it, three pillars that constitute the backbone of development in every society are farming, industrialisation through technology and energy.

To better understand this, I am going to explain to you the connection between food and the powerful nations of today's world. First case study is China. In the canals of Chinese history you can find that there was a time called, `readjustment and recovery: agriculture first' that took place from 1961-65. When faced with economic collapse in the early 1960s, the government sharply revised the immediate goals of the economy and devised a new set of economic policies to replace those of the Great Leap Forward. Top priority was given to restoring agricultural output and expanding it at a rate that would meet the needs of the growing population. Economic support for agriculture took several forms. Agricultural taxes were reduced, and the prices paid for agricultural products were raised relative to the prices of industrial supplies for agriculture. There were substantial increases in supplies of chemical fertilizer and various kinds of agricultural machinery, notably small electric pumps for irrigation. Most of the modern supplies were concentrated in areas that were known to produce "high and stable yields" in order to ensure the best possible results.

In America its also the same tune. Agriculture was their first and main goal of getting to where they are today through slave trade. Slaves in the 1800s and early 1900s were shipped to America for agriculture manual labour. The same can be said about many western countries. Whats my point here, my point is that the president is supposed to focus more on agriculture other than selling his country for peanuts to powerful countries like china.

If my president was to spend more time encouraging Zimbabweans to farm, especially around the time that he was elected into office, he will forever be a god to Zimbabweans. When people are fed, they are happy and nothing beats leading a happy people. When happiness comes along, people are can now be free to think about other things! T
Growing up, everything was good to the point that I would only know of the existence of the President and his Vice Presidents. I would know of the Vice Presidents because they all came from my hometown. As long as people are fed, they don't care about who is in control and that in itself is not a threat to your legitimacy as a leader. Everyone wants to eat and the reason why every Zimbabwean is invested in the politics of our country is because the ones in leadership are taking the little food that we can put on our tables to eat.

Zimbabwe should take advantage of the technological developments of the 21st century to maximise and optimise agricultural output. The existing leadership should focus more on planning how to maximise agricultural output from every corner of Zimbabwe. We are now spending more money importing what we used to export. Zimbabwe should be open to farming and the government should be seen through focusing their actions and policy making which should favours farming more than anything. It doesn't make any sense to sell the mining sector of Zimbabwe and the money made is spent it on importing food. Our focus should be value addition on farming products as well as issues such as addressing water problems, subsidise farming inputs, prioritise teaching the Zimbabwean people how to farm that alone is hugely beneficial to the economy and the environment.

How to solve the water problem for farming in Zimbabwe? Well the first project would be of supplying water to Matabeleland region through construction of water canals. The president is supposed to sit down with every provincial leaders and come up with a list of crops that do better in every region. Encourage every region to grow what suits that region the most. At the same time try to optimise yield production of the staple food of Zimbabwe and that is corn.

The government is supposed to spend more time on agriculture. There should be more research about farming like finding ways of incorporating technology into farming and encourage green house farming. We need proper management of initiations that were there before like the D.D.F in every region and "mudhumeni".

Once Zimbabwe feeds herself, then and only then can every other sector develop as they will have been successful in feeding the people as their main priority.

Some of the advantages of farming include:
I.    food security
II.   make money through exporting
III.  creation of jobs
IV.  Energy production
V.   a happy nation


Source - Nicholas Nhau
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

Subscribe

Email: