The Herald (Harare)

23 November 2012

Zimbabwe: First Lady Calls for Value Addition Farming

Beneficiaries of land reform have been urged to add value to their agricultural produce and generate money from their farming efforts. First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe yesterday said indigenous commercial farmers should invest in value addition and market their products to improve their profits.

She said this would create strong financial hubs in rural areas and empower communities.

Amai Mugabe made the remarks during a tour of Gushungo Dairy Estate in Mazowe by members of the Zanu-PF Mashonaland West Women's League.

The delegation, led by Senate President Cde Edna Madzongwe, visited the area to get an appreciation of the work the First Lady was doing at the farm and at her children's home.

"Agriculture is the backbone of our economy and it means everyone has to be part and parcel of the activity," she said.

"Let's add value to our products and process our produce in this country. It is not easy but if we divert our efforts to various agricultural sectors we will sail through."

The First Lady has a state-of-the-art dairy processing plant for the production of various dairy products such as fresh milk, ice cream, yoghurt and juices.

The plant is the second-biggest dairy parlour in Southern Africa.

Amai Mugabe said the path to setting up the project was bumpy.

She said the project was almost derailed when the money she had in her bank account lost value following the introduction of the multi-currency system.

"We had a bit of money in the bank as a family but with the adoption of the multi-currency system I almost gave up because I was left with nothing," she said.

"With the support of the President (Mugabe), I managed to borrow money and we are now making strides in agriculture."

The First Lady has also ventured into piggery at the farm.

She said farmers allocated land under the land reform programme should ensure the country's Gross Domestic Product rises.

"Let us show our detractors what we are capable of doing," she said.

She said the Biblical scriptures that emphasise love and faith inspired her to build the children's home and the primary school.

"Without your support, we could not do such a great job. I am really humbled by your support and we say whatever you do, remember you are doing it to fulfill the scriptures," she said.

The Children's Home now has 41 children adopted from various hospitals and centres countrywide.

The double-storey primary school would be opened in January next year.

Cde Madzongwe said she was impressed by the love demonstrated by the First Lady towards orphaned and abandoned children.

She said Amai Mugabe was fulfilling some of the basic children's rights that include access to shelter, protection, education and love.

"We have been here and we have seen the sterling work being done by the First Lady. We are happy that she is doing a good job and is driven by love. No one can do this without love and commitment to fulfilling the words of God," said Cde Madzongwe.

She implored other people in leadership positions to emulate the work being done by Amai Mugabe. The delegation donated some groceries for the children and staff at the institution.

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