Elita Chikwati–Senior Agriculture Reporter
Vice President Constantino Chiwenga has warned businesses against operating in the parallel foreign exchange market as Government will take punitive action against them.
The Vice President urged Zimbabweans to have confidence in the local currency.
He said this while officiating at the 9th Annual National Agri-Business Conference at the on-going Zimbabwe Agricultural Show.
The interface was attended by stakeholders in the agriculture industry to discuss challenges faced by the sector and possible solutions.
Vice President Chiwenga said; “Businesses should not be hoodwinked by some malcontents that are operating on the parallel foreign exchange market where foreign exchange arbitrage has become their lucrative business at the expense of the stability of the economy”.
He said relevant arms of Government will continue to deal decisively with malcontents.
“Already a number of them have been brought to book and many more shall follow suit as we intensify our efforts to deal with those who are counterproductive to the sustainable growth of the economy.
“I wish to reiterate the need for us all to have confidence in our currency, the Zimbabwean dollar.
“We need to give it our trust so that it can retain its value against other currencies hence the need for local productive capacity in all sectors of the economy for both local consumption and export,” he said.
VP Chiwenga said agriculture was key to the national development and the realisation of Vision 32030 relied on the increase of production and productivity within the industry.
“The country is targeting 3 million tonnes of maize an all-time record high in light of the forecasted normal-to-above normal rainfall in the 2021/22 season.
“The maize target will be reached through Government programmes such as Pfumvudza/Intwasa Conservation Agriculture Programme, the National Enhanced Agriculture Productivity Scheme and the Presidential Inputs scheme.
“Government is planning to expand the Presidential Inputs Scheme to cover 2,3 million households up from 1,8 million under the same programme last year,” he said.
VP Chiwenga said Government will continue to enhance market access for farmers especially of the horticultural and livestock products which are mainly perishable.
Zimbabwe Agricultural Society president, Mr Ngoni Kudenga said the agricultural sector was still faced with a number of challenges which required the intervention of stakeholder