16 May 2018

Zimbabwe: Farmers' Unions Hail President

Leonard Ncube Victoria Falls Reporter

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa's participation at the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU) annual conference has raised hopes for a brighter future among farmers' unions across the region. The President officially opened the annual conference which is being attended by 18 farmers' unions from 12 countries in Southern Africa.

Prior to the conference, there was concern about lack of political will by governments to finance agriculture and all value chain activities which farmers' unions felt negatively affected the sector.

However, President Mnangagwa's commitment to the need to finance and capacitate agriculture for the purpose of transformation of the sector through collaboration by all stakeholders reignited hopes of revival, SACAU vice president Dr Sinare Sinare said yesterday.

"We are elated about the attendance of President Mnangagwa because we feel here is a President who wants to sit and participate with farmers. He is not the first to officiate at the event as then President (Jakaya) Kikwete (of Tanzania) officiated in 2013.

"What is different this time is that President Mnangagwa stayed and participated in the discussions. This is commendable and gives us hope that governments are starting to seriously consider the plight of the farmer," he said.

President of the African Farmers Association of South Africa (AFASA) Dr Vuyo Mahlati said President Mnangagwa had bridged the gap between farmers and governments.

"It's encouraging to have the President and his Minister of Agriculture . . . Air Chief Marshal (Rtd) Perrance Shiri attending the conference. For us we feel appreciated and we see a regional effort in strengthening ties between farmers and governments in the region," said Dr Mahlati.

The conference started on Monday and ends today with an annual general meeting which will elect new leadership.

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