By Joyce Mukucha
The Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Dr. Anxious Masuka has communicated that Cabinet was concerned about the increase in the numbers of cattle rustlers and warned that measures were being put in place to ensure that the vice is curbed.
He revealed this while presenting the update on the winter wheat production programme and the maize and cotton marketing season during a post Cabinet media briefing this Tuesday.
“Cabinet has noted with concern, the proliferation of cattle rustling and wishes to warn the perpetrators of this crime that the law will take its course.
“Appropriate legislation will be put in place to stem this vice, deterrent action will be taken against errant players across the entire cattle value chain, including the revocation of operating licenses for errant meat retailers and forfeiture of vehicles and other property for the transportation of stolen livestock.”
Meanwhile, the public was also informed that Cabinet has considered and adopted the Update Report on the 2021 Winter Wheat Production and Summer Crops Marketing.
“The public is informed that wheat harvesting has commenced with 65% of the harvest expected by the end of October 2021. To control the reported cases of damage to wheat by Quelea birds, the necessary chemical has now been received from Kenya and China.
“Meanwhile, the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) has designated 18 intake depots for collecting wheat, and is purchasing quality control equipment as well as accelerating grain movement from the northern depots to the southern depots,” the minister said.
Allocation of combine harvesters and transporters, he said, was being finalized by the AFC and GMB.
Additionally, Minister Masuka said, “The delivery of the other strategic grains, Cabinet advises that the top 10 maize depots have received 57% of the expected maize, the top 10 traditional grains depots have received 78% of the intake, while the top 10 soyabean depots have received 77% of the deliveries to date.”
Maize intake, it has been pointed out, has increased by 547%, traditional grains by 726% and soyabean intake by 914% this season compared to the same time last year.
“A total of $1.5 billion was received from Treasury last week and cumulative receipts now amount to $33 038 772 364.37. Grain delivered to date is valued at $34 999 313 710.01 giving an outstanding balance of $1 960, 541 345.64.”
In terms of preparations for the forthcoming summer season, he said, some 83 938 farmers have registered for 2021/22 tobacco season compared to 79 134 farmers that had registered at the same time last year, translating to a 6% increase.
“Planting of the irrigated crop is in progress and 5 803 hectares have been established to date as compared to 4 029 hectares planted at the same period last year, which is 44% higher. This is due to the better rains last season and improved water supply situation.”
As part of the localization of the financing of tobacco, he noted, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) has floated tenders for the supply of fertilizers and chemicals.
Concerning cotton deliveries, the value of the seed cotton delivered to date stands at ZW$ 6.353 billion.
“Cottco has paid a total of ZW$2.226 billion and US$2 809 539 to farmers. Regarding the 2020 outstanding farmer payments, ZW$569 million has been released by Treasury and paid to farmers and a balance of ZW$290 million is still outstanding.”