Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Joseph Made yesterday said the illegal sanctions imposed on the country by the West were crippling smallholder farmers' capacity to contribute to the mainstream economy.
Minister Made said smallholder farmers' operations relied on the smooth functioning of other sectors of the economy.
He said the current under performance of the industry was affecting them heavily.
He was addressing a delegation of permanent representatives to the Food and Agriculture Organisation based in Rome that is visiting the country to assess FAO sponsored programmes.
Minister Made said Zimbabwe had the human resources to produce adequately and competitively. However, the illegal economic embargo had incapacitated the farmers.
"All our efforts to produce effectively and kick start the recovery of our economy are being stalled by the illegal sanctions. There is nothing the farmers can do without resources.
"The illegal sanctions have suffocated all potential lines of credit leaving the farming industry in a quandary," Minister Made told the delegation.
He said the farmers had the solutions to their problems but did not have the resources to implement them.
The Government, he said, was determined to work with the available resources and co-operating partners to improve the welfare of the farmers.
The delegation whose members come from countries which included France, Morocco, the United States of America, Brazil, China and some EU members is in Zimbabwe to see the projects FAO and its various partners are bank rolling.
Minister Made also told the delegation that he wanted to see FAO and its partners concentrating more on fieldwork than holding office meetings or briefings.
The delegate in charge of FAO in the embassy of Morocco, Mr Mohammed Lakhal, said they were on a familiarisation visit to meet the government department, donors and non-governmental organisations FAO was working with and see their projects.
"This visit should give us a better insight into what the Zimbabweans need in terms of assistance and how FAO can assist," he said.
The delegation is set to visit Zimbabwe and Mozambique before completing its mission. Today they will visit projects in Guruve District.