Zim’s agricultural sector can turnaround the economy

Source: Zim’s agricultural sector can turnaround the economy | The Herald July 21, 2016

Victoria Ruzvidzo : Business Focus

Agriculture has been the economy’s forte for decades but robust and proactive measures need to be introduced promptly to augment production levels. The mining sector is fast claiming a bigger share of GDP but as of now, agriculture remains the main pillar on which the economy anchors. The need to get the sector up again is especially more compelling now, with the significant fall in commodity prices globally.Last week we had a very enlightening chat with the Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr . . . who registered confidence in Zimbabwe’s economy despite the current dip. He said this country has so much potential and China is always ready to assist.

In our deliberations, he intimated that Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector alone could help turnaround the economy if more was produced for the export market. China, for instance, could easily absorb Zimbabwe’s entire produce, including grass for feeding cattle.

“China is a very big country and Zimbabwe’s entire production can only feed one province.”

He said: “We see many farmers burning grass and we say why are they burning money like this. Grass can earn this country quite some money.”

This revelation really got me thinking that the country needs to maximise on every opportunity to grow and sell its produce. A more aggressive marketing strategy for its commodities can obviously yield results.

Agriculture has the potential to create more employment, increase GDP, improve foreign currency earnings, supply industry with raw materials, increase the revenue base and guarantee self-sufficiency, among others.

The land reform programme, precipitated by blatant inequalities in the colonial era, was further underpinned by the desire to have access to the means of production. Hence the validity and sustainability of land reform cannot be negated by the current poor results shown by the sector.

The El Nino phenomenon has indeed adversely affected production in Zimbabwe and other countries in the region. However, strategies to counter this have to be devised and implemented.

We cannot fixate on environmental factors which we cannot control but we should rather find instruction from it by assessing alternatives.

Financing is crucial and banks have to up their game in this regard. Facilities can be tailor-made to ensure the sector is given enough support to allow for increased production for self-sustenance and for export.

In fact all needs to be done to ensure production improves considerably, whatever it takes. The central bank and the Ministry of Finance already have proposed strategies for this sector stored over the last few years. These need to be dusted off and implemented to revive the sector, even in face of drought.

Agriculture remains an important sector and, together with commensurate attention to other sectors of the economy such as mining, manufacturing, tourism, transport and social services, this economy can rebound.

We will continue to publish strategies by readers as we all seek to transform this economy. Herewith a submission by Fredrich Kandawasvika from Califonia, United Sates. He posits: “How are you Victoria and your invitation for strategies to revamp and revitalise the economy is a laudable one. The interactive approaches can get us moving in the right direction,if acted upon.

‘‘I suggest a multi-pronged approach as our afflictions are many. l will restrict my contribution to what l know as the major ones owing to space and time considerations. Corruption has to be decisively dealt with. It is so endemic that it is generally viewed as the new normal. Substantial amounts are lost through it.

“Quality of work is hugely compromised. Where tangible results are supposed to be evident, there is stagnation if not retrogression. Tender systems are shockingly flawed and manifestly biased in the main, the cost of doing business escalates, leakages are everywhere, self-aggrandisement and selfish interests are the overriding concerns for most. The culture is indescribably debilitating.

“The solution is to introduce transparent and accountable systems with strict monitoring mechanisms.

“Furthermore, those found on the wrong side of the law should be punished heavily. We need to come up with laws and instruments which robustly deal with this. More than that, it had to be consistently executed, not the mere rhetoric we hear. If we cannot be serious about this then we cannot be serious about our economic recovery and rejuvenation.

“A paragon of conduct in this regard has to be the Chinese and look where they are! Let’s replicate it here! Furthermore Government simply has to bite the bullet and address the SMEs sector. Issues such as funding training and alignment of laws and statutory instrument have to be pro-SMEs. The production levels are low and hence the trade deficit.

“We pull all stops to ensure there is increased productivity in practically every sector eg agriculture, manufacturing,service industry. Universally SMEs contribute between 55-75 percent to economies! Reduction of the wage bill has been talked about for quite some time. Why are we not decisively moving forward? How can 80 percent of a national budget go to recurrent expenditure, in this case the wage bill? How can that ever be sustainable? We need to be bold and decisive in this regard.

“Infrastructure development is key for any progressive economy. Funds should be directed towards this to stimulate economic growth,provide employment and augment the revenue base. The availability of power is of central value. One cannot increase production without adequate and reliable power supply.

“Policy consistency and clarity is lacking. How is it possible to have different ministers in the same Cabinet from the same party blatantly contradicting each other? What are Cabinet meetings for? How are we viewed by would be investors? We live in a global village which has spawned intense competition in every facet of business.

“Choices have been broadened and we simply need to be competitive. Perhaps more than anything else,my sister, we need to put an accent on strategic execution. You will agree that no substantive results can ever be attained without implementation. Where some agreed strategies have been implemented, it has been half-hearted and half baked.

“In business as in economics, phenomenal success is discernible only in institutions and entities which have vibrant execution of strategy. What are the methodologies, what are the tasks, are there distinct duties and responsibilities, what are the time frames? Are monitoring and evaluation techniques in place? Where are the performance indicators? Is there strategic realignment with realities on the ground? All these and more are imperative for delivery.

“Our reputation for being such good planners and nothing else is well earned, Victoria. So all these and more need to be addressed. I have detected in your articles over the years your optimistic disposition which really is what we need right now. We are Zimbabweans first and foremost and our destiny falls on our laps. None but ourselves. Commercialisation and privatisation of parastatals of other entities which incontestably encumber the fiscus is vital. This will improve service delivery and performance and invite private investors who have the right competence, experience and capital and technology.

“We seem to be doing things tentatively and nothing of substance will emanate from such lethargy.

“And by the way, hearty congratulations on your Megafest award! Keep it up my sister! Till next time. Bye for now!”

In God I Trust!

Email:[email protected] or [email protected]; Twitter:@VictoriaRuzvidzo;Whatsaap: +263 772 129 972

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 4
  • comment-avatar
    mandevu 6 years ago

    Sorry Victoria these are just meaningless words. The agricultural sector has been destroyed. Please tell the truth to your readers. There is this constant reporting on our economy that assumes if we say good things then good things will happen. Never will this happen with the ZPF government – they are incapable of recovering what they have destroyed. We need a new government with different policies and zero corruption. Try writing an article with that as its content – you will get a lot of support for it because it is the truth

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    Benjamin 6 years ago

    “Zim’s agricultural sector can turnaround the economy”

    Of course it can……with the right people on the ground to farm it productively.

    All too often we come across farms which have been totally vandalized and asset stripped as a means of survival simply because those resettled do not have a clue. Growing a patch of maize as a means of subsistence and survival is totally different from growing maize commercially for the benefit of the Nation.

  • comment-avatar

    DON’T ban cremora and biscuits at the border rather BAN all maize products………WE have the farms etc etc…….OH I’m sorry…….THIS GOVERNMENT DESTROYED ALL THE FARMS…….Now they want ALL the POOR people to pay for their MISTAKES………GO….GO NOW……YOU IDIOTS

  • comment-avatar
    Maingire 6 years ago

    Mbavha inozvara mbavha, ma degree hobo asi chabuda hapana sori Black Smith, endai mundo tonga kwenyu kwa Zvimba kumusha uko