BY MISHMA CHAKANYUKA
Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement deputy minister Douglas Karoro has urged the private sector to partner government to boost local production for raw materials through contract farming.
Karoro made the remarks yesterday during the Delta Corporation’s ‘Barley Field Day’ at Resurge Farm in Selous, outside Harare. The farm is owned by a Percival
Mazike, who has been in contract farming with Delta since 2004.
The remarks come as over 70% of the country’s industrial capacity is dependent on imported raw materials.
“I, therefore, call upon the private sector to walk side-by-side with government as you have an important role to play in the realisation of these objectives,”
“The role that Delta Corporation plays in the revitalisation of the agricultural sector cannot be overstated. The company contracts a substantial number of
households in both sorghum and barley production as the corporation provides inputs and a market to farmers.”
He said the main thrust of agriculture includes identifying investment programmes by both the public and private sectors.
“The main thrust of agriculture – going forward – is to identify investment programmes by both the public and private sectors that ensure sustained food and
nutrition security, investment in water management, development of mechanisation and irrigation infrastructure to combat the threat of climate change, value
addition and agro-processing, securing and strengthening financing skills that are friendly to farmers, especially smallholder farmers; and renewed emphasis on
livestock and horticulture sub-sectors,” Karoro said.
He urged people to build the agriculture sector through promoting agricultural input and output market development, research and development and open market
participation to ensure that farmers are able to supply the needs of the industry.
Some of the challenges Delta has been facing in contract farming include unpredictable weather conditions, resulting in lower yields, the inflationary
environment, marketing legal issues, cost of financing contract schemes, and an inefficient agricultural chain. Due to adverse climatic conditions in Southern
Africa, Zimbabwe remains food insecure and spends a substantial amount of foreign currency each year on importing food and other essential commodities.