Rural communities will continue receiving Government support for development aimed at bridging the urban-rural divide and end rural-to-urban migration spawned by a long held mentality that everything good comes from urban areas, President Mnangagwa said yesterday in Mutoko.
Speaking after commissioning a US$1 million fruit and vegetable processing plant at Tabudirira Vocational Training Centre in Mutoko, which is expected to add value to the produce grown by the local community, President Mnangagwa said resources will be channelled to projects in rural communities and modernising the education system. Education centres need to produce goods and services in line with Vision 2030 and National Development Strategy 1 so no one is left behind.
The new state-of-the-art plant at Tabudirira saves local farmers transport and accommodation costs in Harare where they have been selling their produce.
“In the past, every child in the rural areas would aspire to go to Harare or urban areas. We want to remove that mind-set. We need people to work from their localities” said President Mnangagwa.
“This is rural development. That is the objective we have as the Second Republic.”
With the processing plant now next to small-scale farmers in Mutoko, they could even ferry their tomatoes, vegetables, peas and carrots using wheelbarrows or scotchcarts. After touring the training centre and listening to challenges facing the institution, President Mnangagwa pledged to provide much of what was needed including computers and a vehicle and tasked the parent ministry to make a comprehensive assessment of other needs.
“The Second Republic administration brought in the concept of devolution. In the past, we used to plan (as central Government), for example to say what is it people in Mashonaland East province want. We would think on your behalf.
“But with devolution, we disburse money through the Minister of Provincial Affairs and that would cascade to district and ward level where committees would decide which projects they would prioritise,” said President Mnangagwa.
He commended development partners who include the African Development Bank, International Labour Organisation and Empowerment Bank for their role in the processing plant.
This was after the bank’s country representative Mrs Moono Mupotola pledged another US$3,5 million funding of other empowerment projects that include upgrade of the processing plant in the institution’s coming funding cycle for Zimbabwe.
President Mnangagwa denounced the MDC-Alliance for calling for sanctions against the country from Western capitals such as the European Union and United States.
“There are those who hate their own country, who wish ill or bad for their country, those who went to ask for sanctions so that their countrymen suffer. Of course we need to know that in any family there is always a problem child,” he said.
He said the country has been under the yoke of illegal sanctions for the past 20 years and it was high time that the country stops mourning over the embargo but pray to God for blessings and wisdom so that there is full use of the land, human capital and water.
“A country is built by its own people, brick by brick. Britain was built by the British, so was Japan by the Japanese, Russia by Russians,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said Government and Zanu PF will always support good projects and gave an example where the party’s youth wing led by Cde Tendai Chirau had been assisted with farms to undertake livestock farming.
President Mnangagwa warned Agritex officers who deliberately omit families when distributing Pfumvudza inputs that disciplinary action would be taken against them.
His remarks came after an outcry from communities across the country that some Agritex officers exclude some families from benefiting from inputs under Pfumvudza. Farmers have to undertake training and land preparation to qualify but everyone who does this is entitled to the inputs.
Responding to the reports, President Mnangagwa condemned the vice and reminded the officers that the inputs do not belong to them but to the Government
“If there is an officer here who is doing that, please stop it henceforth. Ibva watochera chikomba nhasi. No one should be left behind,” he said.
President Mnangagwa chronicled development the Second Republic is currently undertaking.
They include the Emergence Road Rehabilitation Programme, provision of inputs under several Government supported initiatives such as Pfumvudza, construction of dams and power generation initiatives to achieve self sufficiency of electricity by 2024.
The event was attended by Youth, Sport, Arts and Culture Minister Kirsty Coventry, Minister of Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Mashonaland East Apollonia Munzverengwi, deputy ministers, legislators, traditional leaders, Zanu PF leadership and senior Government officials.