Fungi Kwaramba Political Editor
AHEAD of this year’s agricultural season, President Mnangagwa has called upon farmers to start land preparations as he assured them of access to well-resourced provincial agriculture mechanisation hubs and inputs.
This is in line with the Second Republic’s thrust of modernising the country’s pivotal agriculture sector and enhancing production and productivity in line with the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy, which seeks to achieve a US$8,2 billion agriculture economy by 2025, a policy which also anchors Vision 2030 to become an upper-middle-income economy.
Officially opening the 111th edition of this year Harare Agriculture Show yesterday, the President, who is also the patron of the Zimbabwe Agricultural Society (ZAS), underscored the importance of modernising rural communities to eradicate poverty.
“Following the favourable weather forecasts of normal to above normal rainfall, I challenge our farmers to heighten all land preparation and associated activities.
“In line with the devolution thrust, my Government is resourcing provincial agriculture mechanisation hubs with a greater sense of urgency. I exhort the sector to re-energise the provincial, district and ward agricultural shows to further enhance ‘synergies, cooperation and collaboration’ within the sector.
“Over and above this, my Government continues to provide responsive agriculture commodity marketing frameworks with viable producer prices and the prompt payment to farmers. Equally, assistance to the livestock production sector with regards to animal health, construction of modern livestock handling infrastructure and utilities is being supported. This is set to boost both the population and quality of our national herd,” President Mnangagwa said.
This year’s show is being held under the theme “Synergies for Growth: Cooperate, Collaborate, Complement”, with the sub-theme being “Celebrating Unprecedented Growth” in recognition of the remarkable strides made in the agriculture sector.
The President, whose Government is in the process of constructing dams across the country’s provinces, said the Second Republic aims to initiate development that leaves no one behind especially in rural areas.
“Economically productive rural areas are an essential guarantee to eradicating poverty and the realisation of development, which leaves no one and no place behind. Our communal farmers and all farmers in general, working together in unity, are important for further precipitating market-driven productivity for both the local and international markets,” the President said.
Walking the talk, the Government recently launched the Vision 2030 Accelerator Model in Bubi-Lupane Dam and Irrigation project in Matabeleland North Province, projects that have climate-proofed agriculture in the otherwise semi-arid and once-barren region.
“The construction of dams is not the ultimate and desired end. Instead, the establishment of irrigation schemes across provinces and districts of our country is being pursued vigorously.
“These interventions will ensure viable and profitable farming enterprises around the dams, for the benefit of our people. Furthermore, this will improve agriculture production efficiencies, help build resilience and serve as a catalyst for inclusive economic growth through value addition and export-driven productivity.”
The President said there was an interlink between the country’s economic recovery and the agricultural sector hence the need to finance and equip the sector.
“Zimbabwe’s economic performance depends on developments in the agriculture sector. In this vein, I congratulate our farmers, agriculture input manufacturers and suppliers, among other stakeholders, for the successes scored during the 2020/2021 agriculture season.
“Today we, thus, celebrate the past season with anticipation of even greater growth in the upcoming 2021/2022 agriculture season.”
Notwithstanding setbacks wrought by Covid-19, the country is on a recovery path with the economy set to grow by 7,9 percent, the highest figure in the region.
“As a united and peaceful people, our nation can achieve great exploits. In this context, let us never be held back by temporary challenges or setbacks but continue adapting our paradigms to unlock the opportunities in every sector of our economy. Going forward, there is need to improve productivity efficiencies for increased output of the agriculture sector.”
After touring the exhibition stands, the President commended the modernisation and mechanisation of the agricultural sector and also expressed satisfaction with the space occupancy, despite the shadow cast by Covid-19.
“The key aspects of the exhibition and the immense potential for synergies will undoubtedly improve government policy development and implementation. This important Agriculture Show, along with the recently held Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, therefore, remain vital cogs in nurturing networks, strategies and building capabilities within both Government and the private sector,” the President said.
On Wednesday, the Zimbabwe Agricultural Society and the National Economic Consultative Forum held the Agribusiness National Conference under the theme “Building Resilience in the Agricultural Sector in the Midst of Covid-19” and the President yesterday said his administration is ready to receive input from the conference deliberations to advance national interests as envisioned in the National Development Strategy-1.