Mugabe says Zimbabwe can now restore its ‘status as the bread-basket of Africa’

President MUGABE said this while officiating at his ruling Zanu-PF party’s youth rally held at Somhlolo Stadium in Lupane, Matabeleland North province – about 600km south of the capital Harare

Mugabe attributed the bumper harvest to the high rainfall and his government’s accelerated grain production programme dubbed “Command Agriculture” that prioritised the growing of maize.

“We are happy that Command Agriculture has produced massive tons of maize. We are not going to import maize for the next year or so,” said Mugabe.

Zimbabwe had been importing the staple maize grain from countries such as Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi where most of the country’s white commercial farmers relocated after they were kicked out of their properties during the controversial land reform programme.

‘We can now produce food for other nations’

International aid organisations also chipped in with food handouts but First Lady Grace Mugabe recently told Zanu-PF supporters that non-governmental organisations were no longer welcome in the country following a bumper harvest.

Mugabe said Zimbabwe would soon be an exporter of food after a decade of relying on food imports.

“We can now produce food for other nations and we can now restore our status as the bread-basket of Africa as the soils are wet and we can have enough evaporation to get enough rains next season.”

Mugabe urged the youth to defend the country’s land, saying that it was their heritage.

“At one time we lost our land to whites; losing our land means losing our wealth. We must not be slaves in our country, we must not be slaves or employees of the whites”, said the nonagenarian.

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‘The enemy must be careful’

“No more the land of foreigners as it was, so we must defend [it] and rule ourselves. So the enemy must be careful. He [the enemy] might once again want to rob us of the control of our land.”

When he launched his nationwide campaign in June in Marondera, Mugabe warned all white farmers remaining in the southern African country that they would lose their properties to benefit his party’s youth and ordinary Zimbabweans who had no access to land.

Following his remarks, a white farmer, Robert Smart, was forcefully evicted from his farm in the Rusape district of Manicaland Province and more agronomists in the area were allegedly being threatened with ejection.