The Agricultural Rural Development Authority (Arda) should transform into an entity that maximises land utilisation from the current 13 000 hectares to 88 000 hectares within the next three years and produce food for the national strategic grain reserve.
Cottco has also been challenged to transform into a vibrant, viable and commercial entity within the next 12 months and increase production from the current 85 000 tonnes seed cotton to 300 000 tonnes annually from 2021/ 2022 season and sustaining that level of production annually. This came out yesterday when Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister, Dr Anxious Masuka, announced Arda and Cottco board members in Harare yesterday.
Zimbabwe Agriculture Society chairman and agriculture expert, Mr Ivan Craig, was appointed chairman for the Arda board, while former Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president, Mr Sifelani Jabangwe, is now the new Cottco board chair.
Former Arda acting chairperson, Dr Johannes Makhadho, has been transferred to be the deputy chairperson for the Agriculture Research Council.
Other Arda board members are Mr Lance Jena, who is the deputy chairperson, Dr Darlington Zeza, Mr Brian Henry Oldrieve, Advocate Thembinkosi Magwaliba, Ms Philomina Mandaza, Mr Willard Mbona and Dr Conrad Zawe.
Cottco board members are Mr Onai Muvingi, Mrs Cynthia Tapera, Dr Ezekia Svotwa, Dr Midled Mushunje, Mrs Mavis Marongwe, Mr Pious Manamike and Mrs Medlinah Magwenzi.
Addressing the board members, Dr Masuka said the parastatals should play a key role towards attainment of Vision 2030. He said ARDA should transform and fully utilise all the 88 000 hectares of potential arable land out of the 142 000 hectares instead of the present 13 000 hectares, within the next three years.
“Arda should play a key role towards the achievement of Vision 2030,” said Dr Masuka. “Among urgent issues are transformation of ARDA so that the entire 88 000 hectares’ potential arable land, out of 142 00 hectares are fully utilised instead of the current 13 000 hectares within the next three years. The board should ensure ARDA adopts best farming practices with a view to increase production and productivity on all its estates. The board should ensure ARDA transitions from administering farming to leading by farming.”
Dr Masuka said other urgent issues were transforming rural development in line with Vison 2030, establishing transformative linkages for sustainable funding and marketing of commodities produced on ARDA estates and irrigation schemes.
The board was also challenged to spearhead the establishment of new agricultural and rural development projects.
“ARDA should be a vehicle for national food feed and fibre security producing at least 500 000 tonnes of cereals or even go up to 90 000 tonnes and I am confident that they can achieve this,” said Dr Masuka.
“ARDA, as a vehicle for best management practice facilitating learning opportunities for A2 farmers and providing services for enhanced production such as tillage services.”
Dr Masuka changed Cottco board to transform the parastatal into a vibrant, viable and commercial entity within the next 12 months.
“Improving the viability of farmers through capacitation programmes for climate proofed cotton production and the programmes for adoption of best management practices including new varieties,” he said.