Elita Chikwati Senior Reporter
President Mnangagwa is impressed with the significant strides that have been made in the agriculture sector, particularly seed production, mechanisation and research.
The Head of State, however, feels more should be done to counter the negative effects of climate change that have been hampering agricultural production.
President Mnangagwa yesterday toured several stands at the Zimbabwe Agricultural Show were companies and institutions were showcasing different agricultural technologies, machinery, research activities and agro-processing projects.
The President was in the company of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri, as well as Zimbabwe Agricultural Society president Mr Ngoni Kudenga and chief executive Dr Anxious Masuka.
He also officiated at the groundbreaking ceremony for the proposed US$25 million Zimbabwe Agricultural Society’s state-of-the-art shopping mall.
“I took the opportunity to tour some stands and sections of the show. I observed significant strides have been made in the agricultural sector, ranging from research, seed production, machinery and equipment to agronomy, agro-processing and many ancillary services,” President Mnangagwa said.
“However, in view of the growing hazards of climate change, we must do more with regards to water harvesting techniques and irrigation development.
“The mitigation against the increasingly unpredictable weather patterns must be a top priority for those in this sub-sector.”
The President visited the Seed Co stands, where he was taken through production of the different crops that included wheat, maize, and vegetables.
The President was also taken through tomato production in a greenhouse, which has advantages over conventional production system. The greenhouse can produce crops all year round, ensures maximised returns per small unit area and promotes production of high quality crop that fetch high prices on the market.
During his tour, President Mnangagwa was excited by a gigantic chomoulier vegetable crop at the Agriseeds stand which became a source of attraction for many show goers.
The gigantic leaves took the attention of the President who had to return to the stand for further explanations of the variety.
Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) was another area where the President visited and was taken through different innovations being made by the institution to boost agricultural production, especially livestock production.
CUT is spearheading cattle breeding through artificial insemination, which is a way of availing better breeds to farmers at an affordable cost.
The university is also training farmers in different communal areas to conduct artificial insemination on their own.
The President also visited Command Agriculture stand which housed major stakeholders who participate in the spearheading of the Government inputs scheme.
Some of the exhibitors in the Command Agriculture stand included the Meteorological Services Department, and seed, fertiliser and machinery suppliers.
At the Tobacco Hall, Tobacco Research Board general manager Dr Dahlia Garwe explained to the President the process of tobacco seed production, including how they plant the seed, until it is ready for sale to farmers.
The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board showcased tobacco statistics, with chief executive Dr Andrew Matibiri explaining the tobacco sales, resulting in the industry registering record-breaking deliveries.
At the Dairibord Zimbabwe stand, chief executive Mr Antony Mandiwanza explained how the company had come up with different innovations to boost production. These included animal health, farm management and input schemes which included artificial insemination and importation of improved breeds. He said the company now had empowered local farmers who were producing heifers.
Other stands the President toured included the Livestock Section; Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, Chamber of Mines and Tongaat Hullet.