The Sunday News
Judith Phiri, Business Reporter
INDUSTRY has been urged to render financial support and open market spaces for small scale farmers so that they can grow their initiatives and positively contribute to the growth of the agriculture sector in the country.
Speaking at the Umzingwane District Agricultural and Trade Expo at Esigodini College recently, acting Umzingwane District Development Coordinator (DDC) Mrs Siphathisiwe Mlotshwa challenged the industry to assist small scale farmers by financing their activities.
She said Government’s wish was to see smart partnerships being coined among farmers and industry as well walking the journey together so that the country fulfills Vision 2030 of an upper middle-income economy.
“We urge the industry to support farmers through financing their activities and buying their produce at competitive prices. Industry should not reap the farmers but support them through contract farming and provision of affordable loans and other inputs.
The Government is also encouraging industry to open market spaces for small scale farmers who have always supported industry through supplying industry with much needed raw materials for the consumable commodities,” said Mrs Mlotshwa.
She said in line with President Mnangagwa’s mantra; a nation is developed by its citizens, there was a need for industry and farmers to work together.
“It is upon the ilizwe lakhiwa ngabaninilo philosophy that we call upon all of us to embrace President Mnangagwa’s call for hard work. If we work hard the economy will respond positively, no one must be left behind in this fight for a better Zimbabwe.
This cannot succeed if we work individually, we need to work collectively in one direction.”
She said industry should also seek to revisit the marketing laws and amend them to accommodate the small-scale farmers as the current ones were restrictive resulting in small scale farmers facing a lot of barriers that block them from accessing lucrative markets. Mrs Mlotshwa commended the organisers of the expo which bounced back after a three-year absence due to the Covid-19 pandemic disruptions.
“The organisers of this expo working with Government saw it fit to bring industry and farmers together so that there is interaction which will help foster good working relationships. With all parties contributing positively economic growth will take place without failure.
“The ‘Fostering Farmer and Industry Smart Partnership for Economic Growth,’ theme speaks volumes and we want to see these partnerships growing the agricultural sector of Umzingwane,” she said.
Mrs Mlotshwa urged farmers to actively participate in programmes being implemented by Government such as Presidential Climate-Proofed Agriculture Programme or Pfumvudza/Intwasa, Presidential Rural Poultry and Goat Pass-On scheme and Command Agriculture.
The District’s Acting Agricultural Extension Officer Mrs Velile Ndlovu urged farmers to utilise and adopt new farming technologies to enhance their production.
“Farmers keep up the great work that you are doing, share ideas through interactions and learning more about new farming technologies that you can adopt so that the district positively contribute towards Vision 2030,” said Mrs Ndlovu.
She applauded the youths that were exhibiting at the expo and challenged them to educate their peers on the importance of taking farming seriously.
Umzingwane Farmers Association secretary for administration Mr Clarkson Matshiya said youth farmers were in need of land to develop their farming projects.
“Young women and men are in need of working spaces for their projects as currently they are working under their parents so they do not have sufficient land to develop their projects. We are calling upon the relevant authorities to look into this and assist the youths.”