Agriculture has a central role to play in as far as building a strong economy in Zimbabwe and the rest of Southern Africa is concerned, South African Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Honorable Mpakhama Mbete has said.
Lovejoy Mutongwiza/Abel Chipanera
He made the remarks while officially opening the just ended Mashonaland West 2016 Agricultural Show which was running under the theme “Investment and Innovation for Economic Growth”.
Ambassador Mbete said there is great need to prioritize agriculture in Southern Africa as it has been the backbone of building strong economies.
“I would like to commend the Zimbabwean government for leading the light in prioritizing agricultural programs of both the SADC and AU.
Over the years, agriculture has been the major contributor to Zimbabwe’s economic growth as well as other Southern African countries. The newly implemented Agricultural Command Scheme is also a step in the right direction in making sure that agriculture is at the center of the economy,” said Ambassador Mbete.
He added the Command Scheme is an opportunity for the commercial farmers to join the lucrative value chain and it has the potential to increase incomes by reduced inequalities and creating employment opportunities for rural and urban communities.
The South African envoy challenged the sub region to make use of new and improved agricultural techniques to mitigate the effects of climate change, which have a devastating impact on communities
Meanwhile Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs Minister, Cde Faber Chidarikire spoke on the command agriculture programme, calling on farmers who will benefit from the programme to be serious.
Under the command agriculture programme, government will avail inputs and equipment to a target group of farmers, with each farmer required to deliver 5 tons per hectare to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and retain any excess produce.
The Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) welcomed the command agriculture programme, with the union’s First Vice President, Mr. Berean Mukwende expressing hope that the resources promised under the programme will be availed in time.
Chinhoyi Show Society Chairman, Mr. Godfrey Mavankeni emphasized that the economic turnaround of the country hinges on Mashonaland West province retaining its bread-basket status.
This year’s show was the 97th edition and it registered a 20 % growth compared to last year in terms of turn-out by exhibitors.