Government has pledged to continue supporting partnerships between private sector and the State to boost agricultural productivity that ensures food security and economic development. The State will also continue to implement innovative agricultural programmes and adopt robust policies to further reinvigorate the sector.
This was said by President Mnangagwa yesterday while officially opening the Agricultural Dealers and Manufactures Association (ADMA) 2019 Agri-show.
The function was attended by Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Deputy Minister Douglas Kororo, permanent secretary Mr Ringson Chitsiko and directors in the Ministry's departments, farmers and agro-dealers.
President Mnangagwa toured different stands that included irrigation equipment manufacturers, solar energy equipment suppliers and tillage equipment suppliers.
Officially opening the function, President Mnangagwa urged the agro-dealers to continue working with Government to boost production and productivity.
"My Government will continue to support such private sector-led and Government enabled economic development as espoused in the Transitional Stabilisation Programme. Keep up the good work. Your responses to Government farm mechanisation and irrigation development initiatives has been impressive.
"Success in agriculture is without doubt a result of concreted efforts among all critical players, hence this agri-show is most significant. I am convinced that today we lay important building blocks that will stimulate growth in our agriculture sector. Your (ADMA) admission of non-members to exhibit at this show further attests to your commitment to leave no one behind as you hit the ground running on the farm mechanisation and irrigation technological front," he said.
The President said it was Government's desire to urgently modernise and mechanise the agriculture sector as it was at the core of the economy and provided the bulk of raw materials for the manufacturing sector.
He noted that the agriculture sector has remained subdued, contributing only between 15 and 19 percent to the Gross Domestic Product.
"When agriculture performs poorly the rest of the economy suffers. My Government shall continue to implement innovative agricultural programmes and adopt robust policies to further reinvigorate the sector," he said.
President Mnangagwa expressed concern over the numerous old and unused agriculture equipment lying idle throughout the country, some of which could be repaired.
"I encourage the ADMA and our Ministry of Lands to develop partnerships to repair, rehabilitate and maintain the said equipment. This will go a long way towards enhancing land utilisation as well as increased productivity, sustainable food security and agriculture led industrialisation of our economy," he said. He challenged the dealers to come up with appropriate technologies that inform agriculture mechanisation for sustainable and improved efficiencies.
The President also encouraged farmers to adopt smart agriculture practices and researchers to accelerate the development of home grown solutions and inputs suitable for local weather patterns.
"Let us modify and re-orient our agricultural systems to increase our agricultural productivity and guarantee food security despite the ever changing climate.
"Seventy percent of rural livelihoods depend on agriculture. In line with devolution and anchored on our indigenous knowledge systems; value addition and beneficiation of our agricultural produce must be a priority. More agro based industries must be established and old ones resuscitated to create decent jobs and produce value added products," he said.
ADMA chairperson, Mr Marco Garizio said the agri-show was an opportunity for agro dealers to meet and interact with farmers.
He said farmers' viability depended on innovative and cost effective farming practices and irrigation.
"The importance of agricultural mechanisation to improved agricultural production in Zimbabwe cannot be over emphasized. Mechanisation lowers the costs of agricultural production and increases agricultural competitiveness by enabling farmers to leverage economies of scale. It is essential to mechanise agriculture to be globally competitive.
"In the last few years, the private sector player members of ADMA have sought to responded and support Government initiative in this regard and have made significant investments in ensuring that high quality and appropriate agricultural equipment is available on the market. The industry welcomes the introduction of the TSP. The creation of the interbank market for foreign currency procurement is vital to this industry," he said.