Tawanda Mangoma in Chiredzi
Great Zimbabwe University Vice Chancellor Professor Rungano Zvobgo has urged farmers in the Lowveld to increase agricultural production by taking advantage of abundant water bodies in the region that can be exploited for irrigation purposes.
Professor Zvobgo said the Lowveld could be transformed into a perennial greenbelt and Masvingo’s agricultural hub, thanks to perennially-flowing river systems and several dams dotted around the area.
Officially opening the 35th edition of the Lowveld Agricultural Show in Chiredzi recently, Prof Zvobgo said Zimbabwe’s economic recovery would be underpinned by boosting agricultural production.
He said a better Zimbabwe yearned for by everyone was only achievable through collective contributions from various players.
“The Lowveld is fortunate to have a well-developed network of water canals and rivers, which flow throughout the year,” Prof Zvobgo. “For our farmers to become commercial growers of all crops, commercial breeders of livestock and poultry, and commercially competitive entrepreneurs we need to develop trust amongst and between businesses for all to benefit.
“Gone are the days when another company was viewed as a competitor rather than a complementer of someone’s business. Let us have a new mindset that says, how best can I, as an entrepreneur, complement the activities of companies A, B, C or D. That way we will create value and wealth for each other.”
Prof Zvobgo said most parts of the province could be transformed into perennial greenbelts through irrigation using water from Tugwi-Mukosi and Lake Mutirikwi, which are Zimbabwe’s largest inland dams.
“The Lowveld is endowed with two inland lakes – Tugwi-Mukosi and Lake Mutirikwi,” he said. “Put to good use these water bodies can easily create a greenbelt of agro-based activities which would in turn create value for the farmers as well as create employment.
“The trajectory embarked on by the new dispensation seeks to put money in many people’s pockets through the creation of locally based businesses supported by locally available minerals, agriculture, industry and other natural resources.”
Prof Zvobgo challenged Zimbabweans to create business inter-links that will see the revival of major companies.
“We now need a new set of new eyes, vision, to take us to a new level,” he said. “We have the entrepreneurial skills and people have the money to spend on their families. Most business have been acting as bridges for other companies.
“This year and in years to come we need to reach up, in and out, as we take a serious introspection of how we have been doing business in view of the new thrust of the new mantra ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’. This mantra applies to both local and international investors.”
His remarks came as GZU, through the Gary Magadzire School of Agriculture and Natural Sciences, has designed academic programmes aimed at equipping sugarcane farmers with requisite knowledge towards the production of the crop.
This year’s Lowveld Agricultural Show realised a 100 percent uptake of all the exhibition stands making it one of the biggest shows ever.
The two-day event was also hailed as one of the most memorable ever with the crowd being entertained by paratroopers and ZRP displays together with performances by the Police Band, among others.