via Review agric policies: Kabaghe – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 23, 2015
FORMER Zambian Cabinet minister Chance Kabaghe has called on the Zimbabwean government to review its agricultural policies in order to remove barriers stifling growth of the sector.
BY TARISAI MANDIZHA
Kabaghe told delegates attending the Buy Zimbabwe 2015 Summit at Elephant Hills in Victoria Falls last week that Zimbabwe needed to revisit its various policies which are already in place and stop interfering with the administration of parastatals.
“Zimbabwe is endowed with enormous resources in terms of agriculture production and what needed is to have a relook at various policies and one of these policies is how the Grain Marketing Board operates, it’s an efficient institution and should it be private sector-led,” Kabaghe said.
He said there was need for the government to look at input supply as subsidies given to small-scale farmers had failed to bring the desired results.
“We should look at our input supply the way we subsidise the small-scale farmers in Africa. In Zambia and many other countries, these input subsidies have been taken over by other people rather than the targeted small-scale farmers and this needs to be addressed,” he said.
“We also need to look at research and development. I think time is now right for this country to have a relook at agriculture and marketing.
“If you want to be a regional giant for Africa, you need to abolish the issue of import and export bans because they are not helpful to the country, produce enough for the country and also for export in the region.”
He added: “Everybody is looking at Zimbabwe to be the breadbasket for Africa and Zimbabwe has the natural resources to attain that position. You have the natural resources in terms of land, the technical expertise and farmers to be able to attain that position.”
He added that there was need for the government to establish an inter-ministerial climate change committee to mitigate the effects of unfriendly weather conditions.
Zimbabwe has experienced perennial maize deficits in the past decade as most of the new farmers faced challenges such as erratic rains, lack of finance, equipment, seed and fertilisers.
Early this year, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said Treasury had set aside money for the purchase of strategic grain reserve and $400 000 for cloud seeding.