Army starts massive agric programme

Andile Tshuma, Chronicle Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Defence Forces is set to launch a massive agricultural programme in a move that will boost food security in the country and meet the military’s food requirements.

The project, dubbed “Project Sustain”, is set to commence in July to ease the burden on the army’s reliance on government for all its needs.

This was announced by Brigadier General Augustine Chipwere at a signals officer’s graduation at Imbizo barracks in Bulawayo last Friday.

Brigadier General Chipwere said it was necessary for the organisation to sustain itself so that resources that come from the government are directed elsewhere in the army.

He said the project was a move in the right direction to complement Zim Asset.

“To complement the Zim Asset efforts, the army has embarked on project sustain, a programme designed to make the Zimbabwe National Army self-sustainable in terms of food requirements,” he said.

Brig General Chipwere said the army would undertake various agricultural activities with immediate effect. “This programme entails the army undertaking various farming activities to feed soldiers while they are in barracks or on deployment. These are some of the strategies being undertaken,” he said.

The reviewing officer promised army officers that all challenges the army is facing will be sorted as soon as the project is rolled out.

“Let me assure all of you that it is only a matter of time before the challenges affecting us become a thing of the past,” he said.

Security forces have previously embarked on a programme to help boost production on farms through mainly maize and wheat production.

While delivering a speech to mark the 34th anniversary of the ZDF in 2014, President Mugabe, who is Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, said the ZDF was working on boosting food security.

“While the responsibility of transforming the country’s economy lies with all sectors of the economy, the Zimbabwe Defence Forces continue to be seized with the provision of food security in the country. Operation Maguta, a project which started in 2000, has since been expanded to greater levels, producing substantial amounts of maize and significant wheat,” he said.

“The Zimbabwe Defence Forces is also contributing to the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset) through this and several other commercial projects that will, in the medium to long term, contribute significantly to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.” — @andile_tshuma