THE Government is banking on major road infrastructure developments currently happening countrywide to provide easy market access to key remote areas, as the push towards transforming agriculture to a US$8, 2 billion economy by 2025 gathers steam.
Speaking during the launch of the Presidential Rural Poultry Scheme, the Presidential Input Scheme, Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme and the Cotton scheme in Lusulu zone the Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Vangelis Haritatos emphasised that for continued growth, there was dire need for to improve accessibility of the district all year around.
Lusulu centre is an area in Binga district in Matabeleland North that is located 330 kilometres from Bulawayo, which is a key market for agriculture produce in the Matabeleland region.
In a finer way, the centre’s being located in strategic agro-ecological region three makes it a bread basket of the whole of Matabeleland with an annual record of 5 000 to 7 000 tonnes of maize and traditional grains, which has pushed the Government to position it in the right place to get maximum productivity from the district through agricultural development.
The Deputy Minister added: “The existence of good road networks will ease movement of inputs into Lusulu and produce out to other parts of the country. I will articulate this requirement to the relevant authorities for urgent attention.”
The launch of the Presidential programmes is testimony to the President’s commitment to seeing his desire to take everybody and all places on board the development bandwagon and leaving no one and no community behind as the country journeys’ towards Vision 2030 coming to fruition.
Furthermore, the Government reinvented the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme for crops to be grown under suitable agro-ecological regions thereby creating a strong need for the development of strategic infrastructure such as warehouses and depots.
“The existence of a cotton depot here in Lusulu is meant to easy the marketing of the crop,” said the Deputy Minister.
Furthermore, the Deputy Minister stressed how the construction of good road infrastructure would also make it easy for extension workers to reach farmers in the deep corners of the district, as the Government continues to ensure the optimum farmer to extension officer ratio is attained.
Additionally, one of the critical touchpoints of the Pfumvudza programme is preparedness, therefore there is a need for a robust and efficient system to ensure inputs distribution is done on time to enable farmers to plant timeously with the first effective rains.
The launch of the three complementing Government programmes in the district demonstrates the importance Government is attaching to transforming the area’s agriculture sector in line with the dictates of rural development 8, 0 programme.