Let us make livestock vaccines locally: Shiri
THE country should make bold decisions to invest in plants that manufacture drugs and vaccines needed in the agricultural sector to reduce dependence on imports, a Cabinet minister has said.
Officiating at a strategic planning workshop held in Mutare last week, Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri said there was need to build on both human and technical capacity to manufacture some of the commonly used drugs and vaccines locally.
“Zimbabwe is a livestock country and we cannot afford to be a perennial importer of animal vaccines and drugs. It is critical that as a nation, we take bold decisions and invest in local manufacturing of some of the drugs such as foot and mouth vaccines to reduce pressure on scarce foreign currency,” said Minister Shiri.
Minister Shiri urged heads of departments and parastatals to be creative and explore non-monetary incentives that boost productivity.
“I am aware of the difficult operating environment the ministry is facing and urge you as heads of department to be creative and lead by example. Let us explore non-monetary incentives within our capacity and extend these to our subordinates in order to improve productivity across the ministry,” he said.
He said emphasis would be put on the adoption of information communication technology, extension systems and partnering with the private sector in agricultural extension services as the food security policies had fallen short in attracting significant investments.
“Our food security policies have fallen short of attracting significant investments in the sector and ensuring overall economic growth. Governments the world over use well-thought-out policies to influence agricultural production, marketing and trade.
“In Zimbabwe, agriculture plays a key role and is indeed one of the key economic sectors critical for attainment of the upper middle income economy status by 2030. There is therefore a compelling need for agricultural policies to attract meaningful investment in the sector,” said Minister Shiri.