State-run media organisations dedicated huge airtime and media space lauding the government for indeed the major transformation of the Agriculture Bank of Zimbabwe into the Agriculture Financing Cooperation (AFC).
The major thrust of the new institution unveiled last Friday by President Emmerson Mnangagwa is to provide a premier short and long term one-stop-shop for agriculture production.
The new institution brings into fresh memory the colonial settler’s Land Agriculture Development Bank that was used to spearhead the land subjugation of the indigenous people.
It was a highly funded and well-orchestrated agric development scheme by strangers on our land.
Perhaps this was the major ignorance that inspired many indigenous farmers who benefited from the 2000 land reform programme.
Farming is a big business, a commitment that requires clear communication and joint efforts and support from key stakeholders to make it viable; a national consensus towards achieving food security.
Sustainable financing schemes for the different players in the sector are also very key.
And AFC subsidiary companies are expected to meet the financial gap that emanated from the sanctions said President Mnangagwa adding that Zimbabwe must fully utilise its resources that it is blessed with including fertile land, skilled and peaceful citizens.
AFC’S subsidiaries include AFC Commercial Bank, AFC land and Development Bank, AFC insurance and AFC Leasing Company provides the right package to take farming to a higher level.
That is the major folly that the ambitious government has taken in its quest to achieve the 2020 middle-income economy agenda as well as the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) launched last December.
The President appeared adamant at the launch, that time was gone for people who used to bleed national fiscus through not honouring their borrowing obligations.
He highlighted that the days of corruption were now over reiterating to the first management of AFC that they should live a good track road through being accountable and practising good corporate governance systems.
“Mazuva ekungodya zvegoverenemnt usingateverwi akapera,” said the President.
He called upon every Zimbabwean, particularly farmers to support the national agriculture revolution agenda by progressively playing their part.
Hold on there His Excellency President Sir, for the country to start on a page concerning upholding accountability and honouring of public debts, there is a need to come clean for the former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Dr Gideon Gono’s Farm Mechanisation Programme implemented by the Zimbabwean government in 2007 in an attempt to boost agricultural production in the country.
Targeting the newly resettled farmers, the programme is said to have been riddled with corruption mainly benefiting political and business elites with more than US$200 million that was pumped in not being regained and without convincing results.
As the loans were reportedly not repaid, the August house later voted the loan be written off. The loans were not returned and the MPs voted that they be written off.
We remain to see how each of us can come together to support this grand effort. But, as well, we need the true commitment of those in power.