Mnan­gagwa hails SI64 for pro­duc­tion boost ‘Re­vival of agri­cul­ture vi­tal’

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Tendai Mu­gabe & Takudzwa Matam­bura Harare Bu­reau Pa­trick Chi­tumba Mid­lands Bu­reau Chief

THE Statu­tory In­stru­ment 64 that the Gov­ern­ment in­tro­duced a few months ago to re­strict im­por­ta­tion of se­lected prod­ucts has started pay­ing div­i­dends with some firms record­ing in­creased de­mand for their prod­ucts.

Act­ing Pres­i­dent Cde Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa yes­ter­day said the SI had helped boost lo­cal pro­duc­tion and that it was a panacea to the prob­lem of un­em­ploy­ment.

He, how­ever, called on lo­cal farm­ers to in­ten­sify their op­er­a­tions to meet the de­mand of raw ma­te­ri­als.

Cde Mnan­gagwa said this yes­ter­day after tour­ing two cook­ing oil com­pa­nies, Wil­mar Sur­face and Pure Oil In­dus­tries, in Harare.

Through Statu­tory In­stru­ment 64, Gov­ern­ment re­stricted the im­por­ta­tion of var­i­ous prod­ucts, es­pe­cially gro­ceries, to pro­tect lo­cal in­dus­try.

Wil­mar Sur­face, which was Cde Mnan­gagwa’s first stop over, is the pro­ducer of Pure Drop and Golden Glow cook­ing oil while Pure Oil In­dus­tries pro­duces Zim­gold cook­ing oil.

Al­though the two com­pa­nies are not op­er­at­ing at op­ti­mum ca­pac­ity due to the short­age of pri­mary raw ma­te­ri­als such as soya beans and cot­ton seed, Cde Mnan­gagwa said he was im­pressed by their op­er­a­tions adding that Gov­ern­ment pol­icy on im­port restrictions was al­ready pay­ing pos­i­tive div­i­dends.

“This has shown that our Min­istry of In­dus­try, Trade and Com­merce made cor­rect rec­om­men­da­tions to the Gov­ern­ment through Statu­tory In­stru­ment 64 and as a re­sult of that we are now pro­duc­ing cook­ing oil in Zim­babwe. I am ad­vised that cur­rently the two plants we have vis­ited are pro­duc­ing do­mes­tic sup­plies and this has re­duced our im­port bill and that is how we must go,” he said.

Cde Mnan­gagwa was in­formed by of­fi­cials from the two com­pa­nies that while im­port restrictions had breathed life in the lo­cal in­dus­try, in­ad­e­quate sup­ply of raw ma­te­ri­als re­mained a huge ob­sta­cle.

Re­spond­ing to the chal­lenge, Cde Mnan­gagwa said: “Our farm­ers are ig­no­rant but to­day we have been ex­posed to these things as a re­sult of the Min­is­ter of In­dus­try, Trade and Com­merce dis­cov­er­ing that there are com­pa­nies that are ready to move with the Gov­ern­ment pol­icy and have lo­cal pro­duc­tion grow in­ter­nally. There­fore we are go­ing to bring the sub­ject of soya beans to our na­tional com­mit­tee on food pro­duc­tion and se­cu­rity.

“In the past we were not been aware even about the need for soya beans in the coun­try. As a re­sult of this ex­po­sure, we now know that we can take soya beans on board in our pro­gramme.

“I have asked the Min­is­ter of In­dus­try to give us statis­tics as to how much soya bean is re­quired in the oil in­dus­try in Zim­babwe. Then with the amount of soya beans re­quired is quan­ti­fied, we will be able to get knowl­edge on how much soya beans is pro­duced per hectare then we know how many hectares must be put to soya beans pro­duc­tion and we sup­port the pro­gramme and at the end of per­haps three sea­sons, we should have ad­e­quate pro­duc­tion of soya beans in the coun­try We are now go­ing to be fo­cused on those ar­eas.”

Cde Mnan­gagwa con­tin­ued: “We had only taken maize on board, we had ad­dressed our­selves on the agenda of hav­ing suf­fi­cient grain for feed­ing our peo­ple and through statis­tics we re­alised that we need 1,5 mil­lion met­ric tonnes of maize for con­sump­tion in­ter­nally and an ex­tra of 500 000 met­ric tonnes of maize for our strate­gic re­serve which is 2 mil­lion. We then de­ter­mined how hectares of land that would pro­duce 2 mil­lion tonnes. We have worked and we are go­ing to pro­duce that and we are say­ing after 4 sea­sons we will say good­bye to food de­fi­ciency in Zim­babwe.”

Dur­ing his stop over at Pure Oil In­dus­tries, THE re­cently launched Com­mand Agri­cul­ture has been over-sub­scribed by both farm­ers and fun­ders with Gov­ern­ment set­ting Oc­to­ber 15 as the dead­line for farm­ers to have re­ceived their in­puts.

In an in­ter­view on Wed­nes­day after do­nat­ing an as­sort­ment of gro­ceries to the less priv­i­leged in Kwekwe to mark his 70th birth­day, Act­ing Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa said agri­cul­ture is the coun­try’s pri­mary econ­omy, there­fore it was im­por­tant to re­vive it.

He said the re­vival of agri­cul­ture would im­pact pos­i­tively on the coun­try’s in­dus­try which has been fac­ing some chal­lenges.

“The Com­mand Agri­cul­ture pro­gramme has been over­sub­scribed and as we speak Mashona­land East Province is lead­ing with over 117 per­cent of farm­ers want­ing to be con­sid­ered un­der the pro­gramme. Mid­lands Province is at about 96 per­cent. We, how­ever, have a province that is not do­ing well but I won’t men­tion it by name. We also have po­ten­tial fun­ders who are very much will­ing to pro­vide find­ing. We are still weigh­ing op­tions

the firm’s direc­tor Mr PK Ganedi­wal said: “As a coun­try we have the ca­pac­ity to pro­duce more than our re­quired cook­ing oil.

“If the right pol­icy for farm­ing is also there we will be back to our pre­vi­ous glo­ries of be­ing the bread bas­ket of the en­tire South­ern Africa not only Zim­babwe.”

Pure Oil In­dus­tries op­er­a­tions head Mr Rod Musiyiwa said they are cur­rently em­ploy­ing close to 400 em­ploy­ees with av­er­age pro­duc­tion to see which fun­ders to take on board, those who are of­fer­ing rea­son­able con­di­tions,” said the Act­ing Pres­i­dent.

He said by Oc­to­ber 15, farm­ers should have started re­ceiv­ing their in­puts.

Cde Mnan­gagwa said the Gov­ern­ment was com­mit­ted and de­ter­mined to en­sure that Com­mand Agri­cul­ture suc­ceeds.

The Act­ing Pres­i­dent said peo­ple should not com­pare it with pre­vi­ous agri­cul­ture ini­tia­tives which failed to yield in­tended goals.

“We are work­ing flat out on this pro­gramme, more than eight hours a day and farm­ers are be­ing vet­ted to see what each sin­gle farmer needs.

“Oth­ers will need in­puts only while oth­ers will need diesel for ex­am­ple and they will sign con­tracts which will tell them what they are get­ting and from where,” he said.”In­di­vid­ual farm­ers will re­quire dif­fer­ent things and once they are given, they will be strictly su­per­vised to en­sure that it is a suc­cess.”

Turn­ing to the do­na­tion, the Act­ing Pres­i­dent said every Zim­bab­wean should al­ways re­mem­ber the needy or less priv­i­leged peo­ple in so­ci­ety.The as­sort­ment of gro­ceries he do­nated in­cluded mealie meal, cook­ing oil, beans and milk. — @pchi­tumba1

of 7 mil­lion litres of cook­ing oil monthly.

“Our op­er­a­tions cur­rently are on the right track — thanks to Gov­ern­ment poli­cies,” he said.

Ear­lier at Sur­face Wil­mar, the com­pany’s chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Mr Sylvester Man­gani briefed Cde Mnan­gagwa on some of the chal­lenges they were fac­ing in­clud­ing the deemed na­tional credit risk and slow pace of for­eign cur­rency re­mit­tances by banks due to de­pleted nos­tro ac­counts.

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