Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Focus turns to Agri-Business Conference

Focus turns to Agri-Business Conference

by Emilia Zindi Sunday, Jul 5, 2015 | 113 views


Emilia Zindi

Agriculture Editor

THE major highlight of the 105th edition of the Harare Agricultural Show, which will be held next month, will be the annual National Agri-Business Conference to be co-hosted by the Zimbabwe Agricultural Society and the National Economic Consultative Forum on August 26.

The conference, which is expected to bring together business executives, Government officials, farmers, farmer organisations, manufacturers and retailers, will use the same theme carried by the Harare Agricultural Show: “Enhancing Agricultural Productivity, and Managing Climate Change.”

Deliberations focussing on the the agricultural sector’s chain of production will also be held.

ZAS public relations officer Ms Heather Madombwe said last week NECF and ZAS would be co-hosting the 2015 Annual National Agri-Business Conference on the sidelines of the Harare Agricultural Show scheduled for August 24 to 29.

Agriculture contributes over 20 percent of Zimbabwe’s GDP.

“The theme was crafted considering the role agriculture plays as one of the key drivers for growth and employment creation in Zimbabwe. Nevertheless, agricultural productivity has been negatively affected by unpredictable rainfall pattern and failure to adapt to climate change. This is impacting negatively on food security and nutrition and thus eroding the national aspirations embedded in the country’s blue-print Zim-Asset under the Food and Nutrition Cluster,” said Ms Madombwe.

She said it was imperative that stakeholders met to address these challenges through dialogue, debate and experience sharing.

Local and international speakers will relate their experiences and advice.

The central role of the financial sector to agricultural productivity will also be interrogated.

Zimbabwe Indigenous Commercial Farmers president Mr Wonder Chabikwa said the 2015 Agri-Business Conference should strive to come up with funding solutions for farmers.

Mr Chabikwa indicated that the world over, agriculture was sustained by subsidies and cheap financing.

Many Zimbabwean farmers have had to wholly fund their operations, which makes them less competitive relative to their peers in other countries.

“We have heard a lot of criticism of our farmers for failing to fully utilise the land without a critical analysis as to where on earth are the farmers expected to get the funds from to buy the inputs from (sic). It is an unfair criticism on the part of the farmers who are trying so hard to till the land and at least plant something using own finances,” said Mr Chabikwa.

“Our pleas have continued to fall on deaf ears, with only criticism being received. If we may ask, where on earth, even in the developed nations, have farmers been asked to use own funds to farm for the nation or risk losing the farms.

“It is only here where we have heard every one given the podium calling for the repossession of farms from those underutilising them without looking at the environment all business are operating under. Farming is not any exception. If that is the case, then even companies not performing must be repossessed and handed over to new players,” said Mr Chabikwa.

Zimbabwe Farmers Union executive president Mr Beres Mukwenda said the sector needed a deliberate policy that would see serious investment in the form of irrigation rehabilitation to thwart climate change, subsidising of inputs and power, as well as support to secure implements and equipment.

Mr Mukwende said those advocating for repossession of farms conveniently avoided mentioning the success registered by the same farmers in the nine-year period to 2009.

He added that with all the right conditions in place, indigenous farmers could restore Zimbabwe’s regional bread basket status.


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