FINANCE and economic development Professor Mthuli Ncube says the government’s special agriculture production programme popularly known as command agriculture will remain in place but with a greater role for the private sector.
Ncube said this after presenting the Transitional Stabilization Programme (TSP) which will run from October 2018-December 2020.
The TSP identifies agriculture and mining are as the key economic drivers during the period.
“The command agriculture is a very important programme for government and we shall deepen the program to ensure it becomes more sustainable .About 60 percent of our people survive on it and we simply have to embrace smart agriculture and grow our exports and improve property rights
In this regard, heavy reliance on Government of the Special Agriculture Production Programme will be gradually reduced as initiatives to enhance private sector support gather momentum, that way overcoming potential development of voids in capacitating.
This will also entail introduction, from the last of 2019, of such innovations as the voucher system, also targeted at helping reduce inefficiencies”.
Ncube said beyond 2020 government will focus on supporting vulnerable households, while private sector and commercial bank will be required to fully take up its rightful role of adequately funding agriculture particularly A2 farmers.
Under command agriculture farmers receive inputs from government and offset the debt when they harvest their crop.
The programme has come under criticism from some economists who say the program has contributed to the widening fiscal deficit as maize farmers are paid producer price way above regional levels.
However, government has credited the program with ensuring food security and self sufficiency of the staple crop maize. It has further broadened the scheme to incorporate fisheries, tobacco, livestock and horticulture.
Under TSF agriculture is expected to grow by 12.7% this year before dipping to around 9.4% next year on account before rebounding by 16.2 % in 2020.