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