Agric, Foreign Affairs come out tops The President congratulates Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Frederick Shava for being the second best performing minister for 2022 in Harare yesterday. - Pictures: Believe Nyakudjara.

Herald Reporter

THE Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Dr Anxious Masuka, has been adjudged the Best Performing Minister at the 2022 Performance Evaluation Results and signing ceremony of the 2023 Performance Contracts for Cabinet Ministers and senior Government officials.

His Permanent Secretary, Dr John Basera, also scooped the Best-Performing Permanent Secretary Award during a ceremony presided over by President Mnangagwa at State House in Harare yesterday.

President Mnangagwa congratulates the Best Performing Permanent Secretary Dr John Basera yesterday.

Here is why.

The ministry has introduced several initiatives in the agricultural sector in a bid to transform the industry.

The growth being experienced in the sector was evidence of effective programmes.

Various measures have been put in place to ensure food sufficiency through various agricultural transformation programmes.

The ministry implemented the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy which is set to propel the country’s food production levels through increased productivity and maximum land utilisation.

The strategy seeks to achieve a US$8,2 billion agriculture economy by 2025 but this target was achieved in 2021, as the industry grew by 36,2 percent.

Under this strategy, the target was to reverse the negative trends of food production in the country experienced since the land reform programme.

The development of the country’s agriculture sector is key to reducing poverty, hunger and malnutrition.

Zimbabwe is now food secure after achieving bumper maize and wheat harvests in the last few cropping seasons, but the ministry remains determined to transform agricultural systems for the sector to contribute positively towards Vision 2030 of an upper-middle-income society.

Last year the country achieved a milestone in wheat production by attaining a record-breaking 375 000 tonnes of the cereal, the highest ever recorded since wheat growing started in 1966.

Over the years, the country could not meet national requirements and had to import wheat from other countries.

Last season, over 1,5 million tonnes of maize yield were attained.

Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Minister, Dr Anxious Masuka (left) and Secretary in the ministry Dr John Basera congratulate each other after being named overall best performers for 2022 at State House in Harare yesterday.

The ministry also started to operationalise the Agriculture Recovery Growth Plan and managed to score 2,7 million tonnes of maize during the 2020-2021 cropping season.

This season, the ministry has initiated public-private sector engagements to ensure its projections of a harvest of about 3 million tonnes of maize.

The huge maize output would be coming from a hectarage of 1 940 969ha, representing a 3 percent rise from 1,9 million hectares planted last year.

Soya bean growing rose from 52 000ha to 56 000ha, a move that will also ensure Zimbabwe has reasonable quantities of raw materials for the production of cooking oil, thereby reducing the import bill.

Tobacco production surged by 19 percent from 110 000 hectares to about 181 000ha this year.

The Second Republic has put in place measures to ensure food sufficiency through various agricultural transformation programmes.

The ministry also spearheads Government programmes such as the Pfumvudza/Intwasa, the National Enhanced Agriculture Productivity Scheme (NEAPS), the Agriculture and Rural Development Authority (ARDA), and interventions by the private sector to enhance the production of all crops this season, which ensures greater food production, oil seed and tobacco production.

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