HARARE, (Xinhua) --
Zimbabwe has once again said it plans to re-introduce flights to
London and Beijing after suspending them several years ago due
to financial and operational challenges besetting the national
in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development
Munesu Munodawafa was quoted by the state-run Herald newspaper
Tuesday as saying that the government was currently scouting for
a strategic partner for the airline with capacity especially to
resume long haul flights.
route is one of Air Zimbabwe’s most lucrative routes and
analysts believe a direct flight between Beijing and Harare
would go a long way in boosting Chinese tourists into Zimbabwe.
government recently gave Air Zimbabwe the approval to find a
suitable strategic partner to revive its operations, and has
often expressed desire to resume flights to the United Kingdom
and China because of their huge potential.
“The focus is for
the operator that will be able to resume the long haul drive,”
At its peak, Air
Zimbabwe used to fly to over 25 regional and international
destinations but is currently only flying regional routes in
southern Africa due to lack of funds to modernize its fleet and
pay off creditors.
It is saddled with a
300 million U.S. dollars debt, and requires a billion dollars
for recapitalization, according to government.
Zimbabwean farmers embrace
amid efforts to boost food security
HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) --
Large scale farmers in Zimbabwe are upbeat about
the government-supported command agriculture program and are
clamoring to prepare their land so that they could qualify for
The program will
support where required, with tillage and production inputs such
as fertilizers, seed and chemicals and upgrading of irrigation
equipment to selected farmers on a cost recovery basis.
The Office of the
President and Cabinet initiated the program to curb food
insecurity which had risen from 12 percent in 2011 to 42 percent
currently being vetted and those who qualify will be required to
produce more than 5 tonnes of maize per hectare on 400,000
hectares under strict supervision from government agricultural
President of the
Zimbabwe Farmers Union Abdul Nyathi told Xinhua Wednesday that
preparations for the new season were going on well and farmers
were looking forward to the new season in light of the
going on very well for both large and small scale producers.
Everybody is busy ploughing the fields and this is mainly
because of the command agriculture program initiated by the
government and they want to get involved.
“This is very
encouraging and this tells me that by the time we get to October
most of them will be ready to plant, including those who have
had challenges of draught power before,” he said.
He applauded the
government for initiating the program, saying that many farmers
who had hitherto been constricted would be able to work on their
So far, farmers on
more than 300,000 hectares have applied to be included in the
program, while many others are busy tilling the land in a bid to
convince vetting officers that they will be able to deliver.
the farmers to supply the initial 5 tonnes per hectare to state
grain procurer, the Grain Marketing Board, as repayment for the
inputs and retain the surplus for personal use.
At least half of the
land will be under irrigation.
Zimbabwean farmers grow maize on 1.2 million hectares, which
would be sufficient for the country’s food security if they only
managed to achieve 2 tons per hectare, but many produce less
than 0.8 tons per hectare.
about 2 million tons annually for both human and livestock
consumption but has been failing to meet its requirements.
Despite large scale
farmers benefiting from the program, many communal farmers will
still have problems working on their land because some of them
lost cattle - a major source of draught power - during the
debilitating El Nino induced drought of 2015/16.
The drought left
more than 16,000 cattle dead, while some people who had enough
resources to pen feed them descended on drought ravaged areas
and bought the surviving cattle at very low prices.
Apart from losing
the cattle, at least 4 million Zimbabweans, mostly in communal
areas, currently need food aid after their crops failed.
The communal farmers
with their small pieces of land do not qualify for the command
agriculture program because the government is looking at farmers
who can produce the maize on at least 200 hectares each.
The outlook for the
large scale farmers has even been made brighter by weather
experts who predicted a more favorable agricultural season for
2016/17 in terms of rains.
The government has
not announced how it will fund the scheme, apart from Vice
President Emmerson Mnangagwa saying that various stakeholders
will be involved.
Many farmers are
therefore waiting to hear if Finance and Economic Development
Minister Patrick Chinamasa will set aside funds for the scheme
when he presents his delayed mid-term fiscal policy statement on
season ordinarily starts in October, but the changing seasons
have pushed it to around mid-November as the rains generally
continue to delay.
expert who declined to be named said if the program was
implemented properly and on time, it would boost the country’s
food security and turn around the fortunes of the previous