Ministry of Agric pushes target

04 Jul, 2022 - 00:07 0 Views
Ministry of Agric pushes target Minister Masuka

The Herald

Precious Manomano and Tashinga Kawere

Parastatals under the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development are critical components as the country pushes for rural industrialisation. 

This was said by Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Minister, Dr Anxious Masuka, recently during a parastatals review meeting in Harare.

The meeting sought to devise ways that will see the ministry’s parastatals enhancing their operations for the attainment of objectives being driven through the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy (AFSTS), and more broadly, the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).

In his keynote address, Minister Masuka said the reorientation exercise to align agriculture entities had seen most parastatals rebranding.

“We classed our parastatals into rebrand, restructure, reform, transform categories and requested boards and CEOs to align their mandates to the AFSTS in 2021,” he said. 

“Most (of the parastatals) have rebranded and most have restructured, most have also reformed and most have transformed, but much more needs to be done. 

“Agricultural parastatals are important vehicles for agricultural development. They are cogs for rural industrialisation and they are vital components of the acceleration of the attainment of Vison 2030. That is why we meet periodically, albeit virtually, to review progress.” 

Minister Masuka said he was hopeful that Zimbabwe would surpass its intended target of an US$8,2 billion agriculture industry by 2025, as evidenced by a 36,5 percent agricultural GDP growth in 2021.

He said despite being moderated by some lacklustre performances this year due to erratic rains, Zimbabwe “may be an US$8 billion industry already”. 

“I, therefore, hope that by 2025, we will be a US$10 billion industry,” said Minister Masuka. “In our AFSTS review later this year, we aim to lay a firm foundation for this achievement.” 

Minister Masuka took advantage of the meeting to assign responsibilities of the agriculture entities to the Ministry’s Deputy Minister Vangelis Haritatos.

Deputy Minister Haritatos was given responsibility over the Grain Marketing Board, Agricultural and Rural Development Authority, Silo Foods Industry, Agriculture Marketing Authority, Cotton Company of Zimbabwe, Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board and the Agriculture Finance Company.

The Zimbabwe National Water Authority, Tobacco Research Board, Pig Industry Board of Zimbabwe, Agricultural Research Council, Cold Storage Company, Farmers Development Trust and African Centre for Fertiliser Development would be under Minister Davis Marapira, who was recently transferred to that ministry, but reporting to Minister Masuka. 

Minister Marapira was previously the Minister of State in the Office of the President and Cabinet in charge of Monitoring the Implementation of Special Agricultural and Related Programmes.

He is now the with the Ministry of Agriculture, responsible for Agricultural Colleges, Water Resources and Irrigation Development, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene sectors.

Minister Masuka said Government had instructed all parastatals to make use of performance contracts in accordance with the Ministerial Performance Contracts signed in February this year.

“Beyond the parastatal mandates I gave you to align with the AFSTS, NDS1, and the President’s vision, Government has now directed that performance contracts be signed with all of our parastatals,” he said. 

“This is in line with the Ministerial Performance Contracts signed in February this year. The Permanent Secretary and all senior ministry staff also have these contracts in place. This must enhance performance and accountability.” 

The ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Dr John Basera, said the Second Republic acknowledged the importance of tracking and measuring performance.

He said this year, Zimbabwe had done well in wheat farming and said more partnerships would ensure high productivity.

“NDS1 is clear on the need to account for our actions as honourable citizens and more importantly, public officers,” said Dr Basera. “We are defining and in fact, we need to define servant leadership that way. 

“True to the creed, we have achieved another great stride in our wheat numbers: over 77 000 hectares, which is a record since the beginning of records. We still need to do more and what we have achieved gives us more hope and confidence of what we must and can achieve.”

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