Elton Manguwo

WITH the summer season progressing well on the backdrop of lavish rains plus crops at various stages of development, the Government is pushing for the hosting of many farmer field days countrywide to promote the concept of agribusiness.

Speaking on the side-lines of a Green Field Day in Mazowe recently Agricultural Rural Development Authority (ARDA) Chairman Mr Irvine Craig said field days were a critical piece of agricultural practice, as they provided a platform for networking.

Various companies from different segments of the agriculture value chain took advantage of the occasion to set up stands to promote and advertise their services to farmers.

“The exhibition stands that are erected at agricultural shows present farmers with opportunities to interact with key players in the agriculture sector, seed and equipment, the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and platinum exhibitors among others,” said Mr Craig.

With an agro-based economy like Zimbabwe’s, field days are important, as they reflect the country’s productive capabilities and give a hint at how the primary production sector is fairing.

“Agricultural events of this nature provide playgrounds and opportunities for farmers to learn from each other. The farming industry is dynamic and ever changing in nature henceforth the idea of farmers having  to interact in their different disciplines gives room for improvement,” said Mr Craig.

In addition, they provide farmers with the chance of meeting up with policy makers and Government officials.

“These meetings can provide insights into various industrial questions that can be beneficial to both parties, which is critical in enhancing policy formulation,” said Mr Craig.

One of the critical aspects of the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) is the involvement of the private sector into mainstream primary production.

Mr Craig highlighted how private sector participation was beneficial in the commercial viability of agriculture on both farmers and agro-processing industry’s level towards expanding the food sector value chain.

The field days, which will be spread in across the country dovetails into supporting the Government’s devolution agenda for value creation through agricultural production.

“These field days are a testimony of the devolution agenda in action in that they capacitate each area to produce and develop on its own. Their competitive environment on the other hand encourages productivity and consequently enhance national production,” said Mr Craig.

The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development through its robust programmes is targeting rural farmers to lead the charge in the process of rural industrialisation, therefore continuous engagement with farmers is key in realising rural development.

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