The Government is not funding agriculture research, a situation that is affecting acquisition of new knowledge on crops and livestock, Parliament heard on Tuesday.
Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development permanent secretary Ringson Chitsiko said his Ministry would like the Agriculture Research Council capacitated to enable it carry out its mandate.
“Firstly there is inadequacy of funding. Funding is a problem to the entire economy and agriculture research in Zimbabwe has not been spared. As a result, we have inadequate equipment which is old and outdated,” Mr Chitsiko told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture Mechanization and Irrigation Development.
“We need in this age of ICTs, to be able to buy state of the art equipment that would help with information archival and retrieval,” he said.
Mr Chitsiko said lack of resources was also inhibiting the passing of research experience to new researchers. “In a country you would like the old and more experienced researchers to apprentice the newly appointed research officers. They need resources to be able to do that.
“Research is a continuous challenge requiring continuous training but if you do not have adequate financial resources how do you do that?” he asked.
He said the research department was keen to link with other like-minded institutions for exchange of ideas. “We would like to establish a more robust linkage between our research department with academia, the private sector, Non-Governmental Organisations and indeed with the farmers themselves so that we can improve our staff’s research capabilities and exposure,” he said.
Zimbabwe has research institutions such as the Tobacco Research Board, which recently told Parliament that it was using ancient equipment in its laboratories. — New Ziana.