Minister rallies agric parastatals 

Source: Minister rallies agric parastatals | The Herald

Minister rallies agric parastatals
Dr Anxious Masuka

Elita Chikwati Senior Reporter

Parastatals under the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement must work towards accelerated agricultural profitability through aligning with Vision 2030, guided by the National Development Strategy 1 and the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy.

Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Anxious Masuka on Tuesday met the seven board chairpersons and chief executive officers, where he outlined specific mandates for each parastatal, and the time frame the units were expected to have achieved the targets.

Dr Masuka said the parastatals were key implementing agents towards the attainment of an upper middle income society by 2030.

The Tobacco Research Board needed to expand its research being tasked to reform and restructure to be an epicentre for national research, development and innovation on tobacco inclusive of tobacco alternatives and alternates for accelerated agricultural profitability and development by December 2021.

“The role of the board shall be expanding research, development technology and innovations for climate proofing crops for accelerated sustainable and environmentally-benign production by December 2021,” said Minister Masuka.

“TRB should establish tobacco economies and market research, ensuring self-sufficiency in national potato and horticulture micro propagation for the Presidential Rural Horticulture Scheme and developing robust business strategies for self-sustaining financing mechanisms for the TRB operations, among other things.” The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board was mandated to transform the tobacco value to chain to a US$5 billion industry, increase production to 300 million kg annually from June 2021 and facilitating alternative and alternate tobacco uses to diversify revenues and assure industry sustainability in the face of climate change and lobbyists and cartels by December 2021.

Minister Masuka said the TIMB should eliminate perceived farmer deprivation and enhancing transparent and fair tobacco value chain by June 2021.

The Agricultural Marketing Authority is expected to transform from a perceived levy collection authority to a robust, responsible and dynamic regulator and facilitator for increased production, enhanced productivity, and improved sustainable agricultural value chains profitability by end of the year.

“AMA should ensure all 450 irrigation schemes in the country have vibrant markets and create a production, productivity and markets and trade database for all 2,5 million agricultural households by December 2021,” said Minister Masuka.

He tasked the Agricultural Research Council to be the lead facilitator, chief co-ordinator, public affairs champion and indisputable leader in the agricultural research, development, innovation and technology transfer continuum by December 2025.

“ARC should also develop database for researchers, projects, infrastructure and ancillary services for better coordination of national research and development by December 2022,” said Dr Masuka.

The Silo Industries Board was tasked to transform from a commercial entity for the generation of revenues for the GMB to a viable cost efficient, competitive and profitable national mass provider of affordable quality maize meal, salt, cooking oil, bread, sugar and soap by December 2021.

The Pig Industry Board is expected to transform the industry to achieve pork and pork products national self-sufficiency and to generate US$50 million annual export by 2025.

Minister Masuka wants PIB to lead in innovative pig breeds and cost effective feeds research, development and production and capacitating growers and value chain actors for 30 percent increased production, productivity and profitability by 2023.

The Zimbabwe National Water Authority was mandated to deliver best water management practices, satisfy the needs for affordable equitable and quality water requirements for agriculture, industry and domestic use.

Government wants Zinwa to lead in water harvesting and conveyancing for 350 000 hectares under the Accelerated Irrigation Revitalisation and Development Plan by end of this year. It should also drill 35 000 boreholes for 35 000 villages and 9 600 boreholes for schools by December 2025.

The board chairpersons said they were ready to implement the mandates and achieve the targets.

Some of the boards indicated they had already started implementing the mandates.

AMA board chairperson, Mr Allan Majuru, said they had a team in place to implement the mandate, while TIMB chairperson Mr Patrick Devenish said the board was now stricter and had put in place regulations on contract farming.