Michael Tome and Kumbirai Tarusarira
ZIMBABWE Stock Exchange listed seed producer, Seed-Co, is pushing for an amplified export in the agriculture related sectors to save the country from the worsening foreign currency woes.
Imports have lately been weighing heavy on the economy as they gobble considerable amount of foreign currency which could be diverted to other critical sectors like pharmaceuticals and power imports.
In the last summer cropping season, Zimbabwe had a maize harvest of 777 000 tonnes, which is significantly lower than the 1,8 million tonnes the country requires to feed itself hence relying on imports to cover the gap.
Total cereal import requirements are forecast at 958 000 tonnes in the 2019/20 marketing year (April/March), 40 percent above the five-year average.
The country has been suffering from loss of foreign currency and the statistics show that more money that could otherwise be used towards revamping local industry is being spent on imports.
Speaking at the media luncheon held on Tuesday, Seed Co managing director Mr Denias Zaranyika, indicated he was determined to push for growth in agriculture related sector that could help the country in realising the much needed foreign currency .
He implored farmers to adopt good agricultural practices urging them to diversify into horticulture as much of the Western and Asian countries stood ready to uptake the produce from Zimbabwe.
“There is a lot of stuff coming from outside that we must produce here in Zimbabwe. My role is to really motivate interest in coming up with products that are exportable so that we can have the forex that we need.
“Now we are into horticulture, which is a very important aspect, Europe is yearning for our horticultural products, Asia is also yearning for our horticultural products. So we need to put our heads together so that we meet the demands for these products,” he said.
Maize is the main component of the Southern African diet, accounting for, on average of 25 percent of dietary energy intake and up to 50 percent in some countries. Mr Zaranyika lauded the media for the critical information dissemination (agriculture related) and implored the fourth estate to continue improving communication between researchers and farmers to improve yields.
“The media is a vital tool in our extension services. It passes on ideas between researchers and farmers so information that comes from farmers help researchers to work on their improvements and improve on challenges farmers are facing,”