The Sunday News
Precious Maphosa, Sunday News Reporter
FARMERS have been urged to rebrand their produce and substitute the use of electricity as a power source to reduce production costs and maximise on production.
In an interview, Zimbabwe Farmers Union executive director Mr Paul Zakariya said farmers have been seeing the need to shift to other alternative power sources such as solar and biogas to reduce costs of production.
“Owing to the challenges associated with accessing power from Zesa, many farmers have been seeing the need to shift to other alternative power sources such as solar and biogas. Some dairy operations are soon to run on biogas as a way of mitigating the risks associated with erratic power supplies. Rebranding is a business decision that farmers can no longer avoid. Going forward, expert advice will be required for farmers to have their operations meet both the local and global good agricultural practices in order to be competitive on the markets,” said Mr Zakariya.
He added that investing in solar systems would help reduce costs.
“Investing in solar systems will significantly reduce the cost of power in the long run and ensure guaranteed access to power.
In order to ensure profitability in agriculture, farmers will need to be efficient in their operations. This will mean, substantially reducing their cost of production, increasing their yields and producing high value commodities for known markets,” he said.
He said ZFU was working with other stakeholders to improve the cold chain management of horticultural produce so as to increase the target market.
“In collaboration with ZimTrade, horticultural producers and PUM senior experts from The Netherlands, we are working on improving cold chain management of horticultural produce targeting both the local and export markets. Initially, the intervention will target peas and blueberries. Organised farming will be key in order to make this intervention a success,” said Mr Zakariya.
The Government allocated $989,3 million to the agriculture sector under the 2019 budget so as to bring permanent solutions to food security and address both the trade and fiscal deficit.