Govt to cushion farmers — Minister Deputy Minister Haritatos

Wellington Dengu Herald Reporter
Government is working towards cushioning farmers from galloping inflation in acquiring inputs and other means of dealing with ongoing climate change to revamp the agricultural sector.

This was said by Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, Deputy Minister Vangelis Haritatos while officiating at the Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) annual general meeting held in Harare last week.

Deputy Minister Haritatos said the issue of inputs supply constraints was being addressed on a priority basis.

“As you are aware, we are meeting after a season characterised by prolonged dry spells during the months of January and February in many parts of the country. In March the Cyclone Idai-induced floods hit Manicaland, Mashonaland, Mashonaland East and Masvingo Provinces. These disasters go on to demonstrate that our production and food security capacity are vulnerable to the evolving climate changes. This led to the decline in production of major food and export crops.

“The seed, fertiliser and chemical supply and infrastructure constraints are being addressed on a priority basis. It is therefore clear that Government and private sector must cooperate in boosting investment and spend more on creating agricultural productive assets especially expansion of irrigation to mitigate against future droughts,” he said.

Deputy Minister Haritatos applauded AMA for working closely with agricultural stakeholders and instilling confidence in farmers.

He said AMA was working tirelessly in engaging relevant stakeholders at a time when the agricultural sector was threatened by a myriad of challenges.

“I would like to compliment AMA for its continuous efforts to promote good governance, transparency and accountability by having your books audited and results published within the legislated timeframes.

“I wish to commend you for being a torch- bearer in enhancing public confidence in parastatals.

“The holding of this AGM provides a forum for exchange of views in matters concerning agriculture production, marketing and trade with key stakeholders in the economy especially the private sector,” he said.

AMA board chairman Mr Berean Mukwende called on the Government to support farmers by facilitating their products to be bought using foreign currency so that their capital will be safe from inflation.

He urged farmers to grow small grains in place of maize which is now being affected by climate change.

AMA was set up by Government to promote agricultural production of strategic crops such as tobacco, cotton, sugar, soya beans and barley.

The authority is mandated with promoting marketing and fair pricing of agricultural commodities and promoting contract farming through encouraging private sector participation.

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