GOVERNMENT has emphasised the need for close cooperation between its departments, the private sector and international research institutions for the country to increase agricultural productivity for both crops and livestock. Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, Air Chief Marshal Perrance Shiri (Retired) yesterday said it was important for research institutions to play a leading role in developing and scaling out innovations to unlock the full potential of agriculture, especially in the semi-arid regions.
"To realise full potential of agriculture in the semi-arid regions, it's important to foster close co-operation between Government, the private sector and international research institutions to work together in order to come up with suitable and appropriate interventions to increase agricultural productivity for both crops and livestock.
"This will enhance the arid regions' contribution to the overall GDP of our economy," said Air Chief Marshal Shiri (Rtd), in a speech read on his behalf by the permanent secretary in his ministry, Mr Ringson Chitsiko, during a Farmers' Open Day at Matopo Research Institute.
The Farmers' Open Day, which was attended by farmers from Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South was organised by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and held under the theme "Building resilience through crop-livestock integration in semi-arid farming systems of Zimbabwe".