Zimbabweans are a hardworking people and need the support of the international community to improve agricultural production and alleviate hunger and poverty, Brazilian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Marcia Maro da Silva has said. She said this yesterday as she toured Chesa Mutondwe Irrigation Scheme in Mt Darwin South constituency, Mashonaland Central, which benefitted from the mechanisation facility between Brazil and Zimbabwe.
The Chesa Mutondwe irrigation scheme is one of the five in Mt Darwin and 117 such projects nationwide that benefited from the More Food For Africa programme from Brazil.
The visit by the envoy was her first to monitor progress on the use of the equipment.
She said the programme to equip small scale farmers in Zimbabwe was a replica of a a Brazilian model that had transformed livelihoods of poor communities and which former President Lula da Silva had extended to other developing countries.
“I am touched by the results of our efforts and what I have seen here,” she said. “We diplomats sit in our air conditioned offices and never go to see what is happening on the ground but the same gathering we have here is what we had in Brazil to alleviate hunger and President Lula da Silva said let us share our experiences with other developing countries.
“This is a partnership with the Government of Zimbabwe because we could not do it alone and the project is to help you to build capacity. You have proved that with a little help you can do more and feed yourself and have revenue to pay for other things and pay for the equipment,” she said.
She said it was important for both sides to stick to the agreement so that the programme could be expanded.
“You are a hardworking people and all you need is a bit of support,” said the ambassador.
Agriculture, mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Joseph Made hailed the Brazilian partnership and commended farmers for utilising the land and equipment availed to them.
“In the midst of a drought like this it is pleasing to note that you are ready to harvest and thus able toavert hungry hunger,” he said.
He pledged to expand the 25 hectare facility, which has benefitted 50 families and four schools, to 200 ha.
Member of the House of Assembly for Mt Darwin South Cde Saviour Kasukuwere commended Brazil for standing by Zimbabwe and supporting agriculture and poverty alleviation.
“We are happy for the assistance that you have extended to the people of Zimbabwe,” said Cde Kasukuwere.
“You don’t come with an agenda meant to undermine the aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe,” he added.
He challenged all farmers in the country. both small and large scale, to fully utilise and be productive on the land.