MARTIN MAWAYA

GWERU-Zimbabwe is expected to increase its agricultural productivity after partnering with other stakeholders to avail more than 9000 tractors under the mechanization program.

The Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Dr. Anxious Jongwe Masuka said this while officially opening the 82nd Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) annual congress in Gweru today (Thursday).

He said besides the provision of mechanization equipment, Government under the Irrigation Development Alliance to establish 350 000ha of land under irrigation by 2025.

“Regarding mechanization, Government and its stakeholders envisage availing 9 000 tractors under various schemes, with Government contribution being 4 500 tractors and over 200 combine harvesters.

“There are other Ministry interventions to create an enabling environment for accelerated growth, among them irrigation development including under the Irrigation Development Alliance, a stakeholder approach to accelerate the establishment of 350 000ha of irrigation by 2025 from the current 185 000ha.

“The localization of projects, has been extended to equipment manufacture, dam construction and localization of fertilizer and chemicals production. In all these endeavors, Government will be an active player and an active facilitator,” said Dr Masuka.

The Minister also added that the country is expecting high yields from the wheat harvest.

“An unprecedented 80 000ha have been put under wheat with an expected harvest of over 384 000MT, the highest in the history of the country. We must build on this momentum into the summer season to assure our nation of perennial food security, away from the episodic weather-deterred food security escapades of the past,” he said.

He said agricultural financing options  under the National Enhanced Productivity schemes has been put in place for the year 2022 to 2023 season.

“Regarding financing, there are various options for farmers in the 2022/2023 season from self-financing, contract-guaranteed schemes (AFC / CBZ) under the National Enhanced Productivity Scheme. In terms of markets, Government will continue to purchase grains to build up the Strategic Grain Reserve to the revised 1.5 million MT (comprising        300 000MT traditional grains and 1.2 million MT maize) and some wheat Strategic grain reserve. The Zimbabwe Mercantile Exchange will be supported, initially for non-strategic food crops. The Warehouse Receipt System is now operational and should be used by contractors,” said the Minister.

He highlighted that the government is working tirelessly to review land policy frameworks.

“Government is seized with the review of various land-related acts and the 99-year lease, and those related to the marketing of grain, including SI 145 of 2019. Land is an economic enabler. I urge all A1 and A2 farmers to use this productively and to complete the Annual Production and Productivity Returns. The Annual Production and Productivity Return Forms are now the basis for the issuance of 99-year leases,” added Minister Masuka.

He added that “Agricultural Development will cause  rural industrialization which will accelerate and facilitate the attainment of Vision 2030, now packaged under the collective “Rural Development 8.0” which comprises a series of Presidential Schemes such as the Presidential Climate-Proofed Input Scheme, the Presidential Cotton Scheme, the Presidential Blitz Tick Grease Scheme, the Presidential Rural Development Programme, the Presidential Community Fisheries Scheme, the Presidential Poultry Scheme, the Presidential Goat Scheme, local innovations and interventions”.

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