‘Zim will re­tain bread­bas­ket sta­tus’

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - FRONT PAGE - Leonard Ncube Bu­l­awayo Bu­reau

ZIM­BABWE has the po­ten­tial to re­tain its sta­tus as a bread­bas­ket for the Sadc re­gion if farm­ers em­brace Gov­ern­ment poli­cies such as Com­mand Agri­cul­ture and max­imise the use of lo­cal re­sources, Vice Pres­i­dent Dr Con­stantino Chi­wenga said yes­ter­day.

In a speech read on his be­half at the of­fi­cial open­ing of the Vic­to­ria Falls Agri­cul­tural Show by Min­is­ter of State in his of­fice, Cde Eve­lyn Ndlovu, VP Chi­wenga chal­lenged farm­ers to pro­duce for ex­port and con­trib­ute to­wards the vi­sion of turn­ing the coun­try into a mid­dle-in­come econ­omy in 12 years’ time.

Wa­ter har­vest­ing, he said, is crit­i­cal in an­chor­ing Gov­ern­ment’s new thrust to switch from re­liance on rain-fed agri­cul­ture.

“This show marks an­other mile­stone to­wards ful­fil­ment of our goal as Gov­ern­ment for self-suf­fi­ciency in food se­cu­rity, bal­anced nu­tri­tion and value ad­di­tion at house­hold level and the na­tion at large.

“Agri­cul­ture is one of the key driv­ers of the green econ­omy and can ad­dress is­sues of liveli­hoods and food se­cu­rity and Gov­ern­ment sub­scribes to the im­ple­men­ta­tion of poli­cies that pro­mote a green econ­omy,” said VP Chi­wenga.

“As Gov­ern­ment, we en­cour­age sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment by op­ti­mis­ing use of nat­u­ral re­sources. Wa­ter har­vest­ing is one of Gov­ern­ment pro­grammes to har­ness this pre­cious liq­uid for both con­sump­tion and ir­ri­ga­tion, and let’s all join hands in this pro­gramme as com­mu­ni­ties and the pri­vate sec­tor for us to achieve our food-bas­ket sta­tus for Sadc, which we had

a few years ago,” he said.

The Vic­to­ria Falls Agri­cul­tural Show is a dis­trict ex­hi­bi­tion which at­tracts ru­ral small-scale farm­ers, the busi­ness com­mu­nity, small to medium en­ter­prises, Gov­ern­ment min­istries and the academia.

Vic­to­ria Falls and the whole of Hwange dis­trict, he added, should lever­age on its new Spe­cial Eco­nomic Zone (SEZ) sta­tus to un­leash its po­ten­tial in hor­ti­cul­ture, in­clud­ing the pro­duc­tion and ex­port of high-end teak and ma­hogany fur­ni­ture, fish farming, pro­duc­tion of oils and small grains.

Its al­lure as a favoured tourist des­ti­na­tion can also help add fil­lip to eco­nomic growth in the prov­ince, he said.

VP Chi­wenga im­plored farm­ers to use the show as a spring­board to launch into in­ter­na­tional mar­kets.

“The Vic­to­ria Falls In­ter­na­tional Air­port now com­petes favourably with other ma­jor air­ports in the re­gion as it can now land any large air­craft in the world. There­fore, farm­ers must take ad­van­tage of the up­graded air­port to ex­port hor­ti­cul­tural prod­ucts to dif­fer­ent niche mar­kets across the globe,” he said.

Lo­cal farm­ers should also ven­ture into cit­rus fruits pro­duc­tion for ex­port, tak­ing ad­van­tage of favourable weather con­di­tions.

The ex­pan­sion of Com­mand Agri­cul­ture to in­clude live­stock, wildlife, fish­eries and small grains, he said, also puts Mata­bele­land re­gion is good stead to ben­e­fit from the em­pow­er­ing pro­grammes.

He im­plored Vic­to­ria Falls Mu­nic­i­pal­ity to al­lo­cate land for a per­ma­nent ex­hi­bi­tion site.

VP Chi­wenga said the show’s theme, “Build­ing Green Eco­nomic Link­ages and Ben­e­fi­ci­a­tion Net­works”, res­onates with Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa’s Vi­sion 2030 as it chal­lenges Zim­bab­weans to at­tach great im­por­tance to the sus­tain­able util­i­sa­tion of re­sources and ben­e­fi­ci­a­tion to ad­vance in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion of the econ­omy.

He called for all stake­hold­ers to sup­port the show, while also chal­leng­ing the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­ment, Tourism and Hos­pi­tal­ity In­dus­try to come up with a mas­ter­plan that pro­motes in­vest­ment in ho­tel ac­com­mo­da­tion in the re­sort town to meet the ever-grow­ing de­mand.

Show or­gan­iser Mr Tendai Moyo said his vi­sion is to at­tract re­gional ex­hibitors.

There were more than 70 ex­hibitors, in­clud­ing 18 SMEs, at yes­ter­day’s event. Mean­while, ZBC last night re­ported that VP Chi­wenga has called on all Zim­bab­weans to con­trib­ute to­wards de­vel­op­ing the coun­try.

Ad­dress­ing peo­ple in Maron­dera yes­ter­day at a me­mo­rial ser­vice for his late sis­ter, Mrs Mar­garet Machek­abuwe, VP Chi­wenga said Zim­bab­weans should now con­cen­trate on na­tion-build­ing as elec­tions are now a thing of the past.

Cde Machek­abuwe died on the 4th of May this year af­ter a short ill­ness.

She was buried at Machek­abuwe Farm in Maron­dera.

The ser­vice, which also saw the un­veil­ing of a tomb­stone, was also at­tended by Se­nate Pres­i­dent Mar­ble Chi­nomona, Health and Child Care Min­is­ter Dr Oba­diah Moyo and Mashona­land East Min­is­ter of State Apol­lo­nia Mun­zv­erengwi.

—Pic­ture: Justin Mu­tenda

Health and Child Care Min­is­ter Dr Oba­diah Moyo (left), Fi­nance and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Prof Mthuli Ncube(sec­ond from right) and En­vi­ron­ment, Tourism and Hos­pi­tal­ity In­dus­try Min­is­ter Prisca Mup­fu­mira (right) re­ceive a $200 000 do­na­tion from Chi­nese Deputy Am­bas­sador to Zim­babwe Zhao Bao­gang. The money, to­gether with other do­na­tions made yes­ter­day, is meant to fight cholera. Story on Page 2.

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