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Sunday, April 21, 2024
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Adopt Drought Resistant Crops, Farmers Urged

The government has urged local farmers to adapt to the changing weather patterns and start growing drought-tolerant crops if they are to sustain themselves.

Officiating at the Castor Bean Conference in Harare today, Vice President Kembo Mohadi called on agricultural reforms in an effort to contain climate change.

“To achieve our broader vision, we need to reform our agriculture which is the mainstay of our economy. However, we are now, as we previously were, exposed constantly to the vagaries of nature in which droughts have now become more frequent and our farmers have to toil under the brutal sun without the soil,” said Mohadi.

He noted that the changing weather patterns are forcing farmers to embrace crops like castor bean.

Mohadi said government is concentrating on creating production bases for cash crops with a view to gain access in the global market.

The country has been burdened by a huge import bill which stands at more US$2 billion.

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“This can be reduced by the commercialization of Castor Beans farming which has a potential to generate US$7 billion annually and provide the raw material for fuel, pharmaceuticals, lubricants, cosmetics, and livestock,” he noted.

Castor beans can be harvested three times a year and can be used to produce several by-products.

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The production of the crop is being spearheaded by Life Brand Agricultural Services with the aim of boosting agricultural production in the country with a bias towards exports.

The global demand for castor oil is estimated to stand at US$7 trillion.

Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe says it will avail funds to support the growth of castor bean farming in the country.

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Multi-award winning journalist/photojournalist with keen interests in politics, youth, child rights, women and development issues. Follow Lovejoy On Twitter @L_JayMut

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