Charmaine Brown and Natasha Kokai
Government is set to construct an energy crop regulatory body that will oversee the growing, marketing and processing of all inedible energy crops for industrial use, Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri has said.
In a speech read on his behalf by a director in his ministry Joseph Gondo during the launch of the Zimbabwe Castor Industry Association, Minister Shiri said agriculture has taken centre stage in the revival of Zimbabwe’s economy under the leadership of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
He said as a ministry, they were confident that the unique product mix that was offered by the castor bean plant was one that will allow Zimbabwe to save millions of dollars.
“As Government, we are in full support of the industry and every player wishing to venture into the castor industry should be a member of the association,” said Minister Shiri.
“Furthermore, as Government, we are in the process of setting up an energy crop regulatory body to oversee the growing, marketing and processing of all inedible energy crops for industrial use.”
Minister Shiri urged farmers and the industry players to work together for the purpose of development of the economy.
“It is commendable when farmers and industries join hands for the common purpose of setting up an association with the aim of having a desire to advance the general interest of its members, and wishing to promote and foster just and equitable principles of trade, acquire, preserve and disseminate valuable business information among other goals,” he said.
The association’s president Mr Bright Mudzvova said President Mnangagwa was marketing the country and that will lead to many players with interests in castor bean coming to Zimbabwe.
“Zimbabwe is also on a drive to attract investment,” he said. “The President, Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa, has been aggressive in selling the country as an investment destination and given the numerous by products caster has to offer we will have investors knocking on our doors.”
Government has already started taking measures to boost the production of castor bean in the country.
Last month, the Zimbabwe Women’s Microfinance Bank on behalf of Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Life Brand Agriculture Services to empower women to get into castor bean production.