China’s top legislative body, the National People’s Congress, yesterday held a virtual meeting with four African parliaments, including that of Zimbabwe, to explore roles that legislators could play in reducing poverty.
Portfolio committee on Lands and Agriculture and chairperson of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee of the NPC, Mr Chen Xiwen, hosted the event which included Liberia, Namibia and South Africa.
Zimbabwe was represented by Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Resettlement chairperson Cde Justice Mayor Wadyajena, while Speaker of the National Assembly for Namibia, Professor Peter Katjavivi also attended the event.
Mr Chen said China valued its relations with Africa.
In his speech, Cde Wadyajena chronicled several Government agricultural programmes that have been embarked upon to reduce poverty, which included the Pfumvudza programme.
He said Zimbabwe’s poverty reduction efforts were buoyed by the prospects of a bumper harvest owing to good rainfall.
“This success is driven by agricultural development programmes such as Pfumfudza, which was spearheaded by our President, and targets rural communities which make up 65 percent of our population,” said Cde Wadyajena.
“Over the last two days, we have learned a lot about the role we play as legislators in overseeing national development strategies and increasing the likelihood of positive outcomes, particularly with our own national development blueprint, Vision 2030 which intends to see Zimbabwe become a middle-income country in the next nine years.
“For Zimbabwe, the National Assembly will ensure that key policy positions and their accompanying legal instruments are maintained in order to achieve true prosperity for the common man. One such example for us in Zimbabwe is land reform, which, by now, the world has understood is irreversible and here to stay.
“Now, with bumper harvests we are experiencing, we are on the road to prosperity and reclaiming our status as the breadbasket of Africa. I also want to assure you we will apply what we have learnt in our work, and we will borrow from China’s experience and expertise to help advance our legislatures and do our part in promoting our national development and prosperity.”
Cde Wadyajena, who is also the Gokwe Nembudziya legislator, said Zimbabwe did well in terms of agriculture productivity despite the scourge of Covid-19 that saw the country and the region going into a national lockdown.
“In the agriculture sector, we have been able to continue economic activity almost as normal on account of how well we have controlled the spread of Covid-19,” he said.
“As a nation that relies highly on farming, it was imperative that workers in this sector were immunised to prevent an all-out collapse of the industry and the consequent food insecurity and economic depression that would have followed.
“As a result, we are experiencing our highest maize harvest since 1985.”
Cde Wadyajena commended the bilateral relations between Zimbabwe and China that saw Beijing helping Harare to fight the Covid-19 pandemic by making several donations, including Covid-19 vaccines.