Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Politicians must prioritise agri sector – Rukuni

Politicians must prioritise agri sector – Rukuni

Zimbabwe seriously needs politicians who give top priority to agriculture 
say Professor Mandivamba Rukuni.
Ngoni Chanakira Harare

He told a three-day workshop in Harare last week, organised by The Mandi 
Rukuni Seminars, that the country’s administrators should pave the way 
forward for the once-thriving agriculture sector to return to the heights it 
achieved during the 1980s and early 1990s.

“This economy catches a huge cold when agriculture coughs. Look at the last 
50 years. If agriculture ticks, you sell more bread, people buy more suits 
and women more dresses and the economy ticks. It can all work if you have 
the right practice and both private as well as public sector support.”

Rukuni said technically speaking, there were no economies of scale in 

For the sector to regain its financial muscle seven steps needed to be taken 

1. “We need better farm management skills,” he said. “We need professionals 
who not only can run companies but also commercial farms and who have 
invested in farming. Human resources assets require revamping various 
institutions so that the brain drain is stopped.”

2. Better land distribution techniques. “Land users not only need access to 
land but to soil and water conservation.”

3. Better technological products and services support, including improved 
seed, better methods, improved animal husbandry, research, processing and 
value addition.

4. Long-term finance to purchase land and equipment, medium-term finance for 
machines and irrigation and short-term finance for seasonal finance.

5. Physical and biological infrastructure – “There is need to invest heavily 
in roads, reticulated water for irrigation and domestic use, as well as 
access to electricity and telecommunication services,” Rukuni said.

6. Better farmer support institutions – “We have brilliant technical 
advisory services but we do not have good business advisory services. 
Farming must be viable and can do business with better institutions.

“I think we must adopt the former Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) Model. They 
had a strong union with political power, commodity associations, and Clubs 
for get-togethers to address their issues,” he said.

7. A conducive economic and political environment. “You need politicians who 
give top priority to agriculture. Agriculture is an important sector because 
the majority of the people are still rural,” he said.

The “very quiet” Zimbabwe Investment Authority, currently led by Richard 
Mbaiwa, said there were a wide “array of investment opportunities” in 
agriculture that have the potential to boost the sector’s viability.

Production increase

Maize: 2010, 1,3 million tonnes 2009, 575 000 tonnes

Tobacco: 2010,123 million tonnes 2008, 45 million tonnes

Cotton: 2010, 260,000 tonnes

2009, 235,000 tonnes

Sugar: 2010 350,000 tonnes

2009, 298,000 tonnes


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