Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Farming Reporter
PLANS are underway to form a National Association of Agricultural Society, a move aimed creating a platform to enhance the country’s agricultural sector through active participation by stakeholders.
Zimbabwe Agricultural Society (ZAS) chief executive officer Dr Anxious Masuka said there are plans to form a body made up of all the country’s 12 Agricultural Societies this week.
“There are 12 Agricultural Societies in the country being run independently and are member based . . . there are plans to form the National Association of Agriculture Societies of Zimbabwe, seven of the societies have already signed up and I am hopeful the remaining five will do so at a meeting in Chinhoyi on 10 March and hopeful we will launch the association. We are looking at coming up with a common platform to resolve farming issues with the ZAS being the apex national show,” said Dr Masuka.
The Zimbabwe Agricultural Society runs the annual Harare Agricultural Show. He said last year ZAS initiated the “Produce for Zimbabwe, Feed Zimbabwe” concept which was aimed at ensuring improved maize production culminating in Government introducing the Command Agriculture Programme further stating that the onus is now on the Grain Marketing Board to accept deliveries “in order to sustain food security and it will be replicated in the coming season”.
ZAS also held its annual council general meeting in January where the association agreed to review its constitution in line with latest development in the agricultural sector.
“At our recent 115th Annual Council General Meeting on 26 January 2017, it was unanimously agreed by members that the ZAS constitution be reviewed to make the ZAS activities more relevant to the current agricultural context and discourse, while chatting a bold practical agricultural development trajectory to take the “new ZAS” confidently and sustainably well into the future.
“I have no doubt that the agricultural development facilitator focus of the ZAS will be sharpened further, while broadening and deepening our multifarious, fruitful and mutually beneficial linkages with stakeholders in the agricultural value chain, primarily and, secondarily, feeding into the industry and commerce value chains. I thus look forward to your invaluable suggestions,” said Dr Masuka.
ZAS has also set sights at revamping its publicity and information activities to enhance and expand its operations while creating and sustaining a virtual information portal for the advancement of agriculture in the country.
“We are looking at coming up with an interactive platform whereby we will be visible on social networks and engaging with youths on agricultural issues since they are the ones that use these platforms more often and 40 percent of the country’s population are youths. So we will have everyone on board other than using the traditional way of communication,” said Dr Masuka.
This year’s Harare Agricultural Show, which will run from 21 to 26 August would be held under the ZAS 2017 Theme “Seed to Food: Innovate, Consolidate, Sustain”.