We revamped Zimbabwe’s agric sector: Sakunda

By ZBC Reporter
SAKUNDA Holdings has no regrets in participating in the command agriculture programme which boosted the country’s agricultural sector in the 2016-17 agricultural season.
This was revealed by Sakunda Holdings executives when they appeared before the parliamentary portfolio committee on public accounts chaired by Harare East legislator, Honourable Tendai Biti.
Sakunda Holdings Chief Operating Officer, Mberikwazvo Charles Chitambalo said his organisation only used USD 1 billion dollars for the four years command agriculture programme has been running.
“As Sakunda we have no regrets in playing a role in the country’s agriculture. Our role was important considering that in 2015 only 6 000 tonnes of maize seed was sold. When command agriculture programme started in 2016 a total of 24 thousand tonnes of maize seed was sold,” he said.
Chitambo said figures of US$5 billion, US$3.5 billion and US$3 billion have been thrown around for the command agriculture programme but the correct figure is US$1 billion.
“We got US$1 billion and what went to Command agriculture didn’t necessarily go to agriculture. We were paid to supply inputs. The record is clear, we supplied all inputs we were asked to supply. In 2016-17 season we supplied US$50 million worth of inputs under the presidential inputs, US$125 million for irrigated maize. For wheat production in 2017 we supplied inputs worth US$43 million, in 2017-18 we supplied inputs worth US$332 million with US$57 million for winter wheat production for 2018,” he said.
Chitambo added that Sakunda used its own resources to kick start the programme in 2016 as the government only paid for inputs in February of 2017.
“We used Sakunda’s credit standing otherwise there was no 2016-17 agricultural season. We did well in the year such that the 30-year-olds in this room saw granaries overflowing for the first time and it is possible for us to extract numbers of maize and soya beans. There has been drought but the programme transformed agricultural activity in the country. I would put it this, the country is better off with command agriculture which Sakunda happened to finance. We said no regrets because there has been a positive benefit,” he said.
On the failure to go to tender, Chitambo said his company was invited for the programme.
Legislators further questioned Sakunda executives on the alleged state capture which Chitambo denied.
“We in Sakunda, we don’t feel we have captured the state but we used the best skills we have to boost agricultural production. I thank the state for refusing to be captured,” said Chitambo.