Agric reform gets seal of approval The President speaks to the head of the African Development Bank Dr Akinwumi Adesina at the Dakar 2 Feed Africa Summit in Senegal yesterday. — Picture: Tawanda Mudimu.

Vusumuzi Dube in DAKAR, Senegal

ZIMBABWE’S success in turning around the agriculture sector and attaining food self-sufficiency with food exports likely to resume soon has charmed the world, with several African leaders expressing interest in visiting the country to get first-hand experience on how Harare has managed to achieve this remarkable feat. 

The country’s agricultural revolution under the Second Republic has seen Zimbabwe first restore self-sufficiency, once good and indifferent seasons are averaged, in summer grains of maize and traditional grains.

Last year the country produced a record wheat harvest that for the first time ever, met national demand. The revolution in production also ensures rising incomes for small-scale farmers as they take up the burden of producing much of the summer grains.

In explaining the nation’s success story during the Dakar 2 Feed Africa Summit that comes to an end today in Dakar, Senegal, President Mnangagwa said it all came down to village wisdom guided by the principle that a nation is built and developed by its own people. 

The President’s three-minute presentation saw him raising four thematic areas that had led to the success of the agriculture sector: irrigation, wheat production, fertiliser production and the construction of dams. 

As he briefly explained each of the points, President Mnangagwa got a standing ovation from the 1 500-plus audience attending the summit. 

Speaking on the sidelines of the summit, Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Senegal, James Maridadi, said the summit was evidence that Africa held in high regard the success of Zimbabwe’s agriculture revolution noting that the nation’s future was bright. 

Ambassador Maridadi, who is also accredited to Mali, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry and The Gambia, said after President Mnangagwa’s presentation, he had already been approached by three other Presidents from the six countries where he is ambassador to visit Zimbabwe.

“We have 17 Heads of State that are attending this summit and if Zimbabwe had not come, this summit would have meant nothing. Zimbabwe has now become the go-to authority in agriculture.

“The video of the presentation by President Mnangagwa at the summit has become so popular and is circulating in the region. 

“The President spoke about four thematic areas on achieving food security in the country and whenever he raised a point, there was a standing ovation. 

“There is video evidence to that and I was approached by quite a number of people asking how Zimbabwe is doing it and after his presentation, I have had three Presidents from my areas of jurisdiction wanting to visit Zimbabwe to see how agriculture is happening.”

Ambassador Maridadi also hailed the President’s attendance at the summit saying it was an honour to host the Head of State adding that this was going to go a long way in improving relations between Zimbabwe and Senegal. 

“Calling the President’s visit to my mission the icing on the cake is honestly an understatement. I wish there was some other superlative to describe this visit. It is always welcome that the Head of State, the appointing authority, is in your station because basically it is the appointing authority that is coming to see you, so we are very excited that President Mnangagwa is here in Senegal. 

“West Africa and Zimbabwe have not had good relations because of this Francophone dimension, so now that I have been deployed here, we are trying to break those barriers, saying that as Africans we are Africans despite those that colonised us. So the relationship between Zimbabwe and Senegal is very cordial.”

Building from these improved relations, the future promises to be bright in terms of relations between the two nations.

“We are going to see a lot of things happening between now and going into the future because the mantra of the Second Republic is that we are a friend to all and an enemy to none and that is exactly what I came here to do,” Ambassador Maridadi said.

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