Source: Lack of funds affecting agriculture operations – NewsDay Zimbabwe July 4, 2017
THE Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development only receives 30% in budgetary allocations from Treasury crippling agricultural research service activities, a government official has said.
BY TARISAI MANDIZHA
Secretary for Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Ringson Chitsiko told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Agriculture last week that research and development in Zimbabwe’s agricultural was critical.
“On budget submission to Treasury, generally from what we submit, what we get is 30% of our bid, not because Treasury does not want but because of the serious resource envelop in line with other competing needs,” he said.
He said the challenge facing agriculture research in Zimbabwe was inadequacy of funding.
“Funding is the problem to the entire economy and agricultural research in Zimbabwe has not been spared. As a result we have in adequate equipment which is old and outdated and as a result our interaction with the outside economy is limited,” he said.
Chitsiko said the research department needed resources to be able operate and in line with the current trends of Information and communication technology there was a need to acquire state-of-the-art machinery.
“We need resources with today and edge of Information and Communication Technology. We need to acquire state-of-the-art machinery because of the problems of funding. The priority is more on what brings immediate finance to the economy,” he said.
He, however, said there was need for government to capacitate agriculture research to able to fund research activities.
Chitsiko added that government had signed a $478 million agreement with energy company, Sakunda and three banks to finance the 2017/18 summer cropping season as part of a drive to improve food security.
Zimbabwe, a former regional breadbasket that has become a serial grain importer since the government’s seizure of white-owned farms in 2000, expects 2 million tonnes of grain in the 2016/2017 season, more than enough to meet the country’s annual demand.