Tawanda Mangoma in CHIREDZI
Government has challenged farmers to embrace modern farming methods to boost local agricultural production and help Zimbabwe reclaim its breadbasket status if the country is to achieve its goal to become an upper middle income economy by 2030. Addressing sugarcane farmers at a field day hosted at Retired Major Faster Gono’s farm in Hippo Valley Estates here, Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Climate, Water and Rural Resettlement Vangelis Peter Haritatos said farmers were supposed to up their game.
Deputy Minister Haritatos urged farmers to fight relentlessly for the nation to continue reducing its import bill which remained an albatross on the nation’s fiscus.
He said the ghost of climate change needed farmers to up their game to make sure the country produces adequate food.
“There is no question that agricultural sector is the most significant prime-mover of Zimbabwe’s Vision 2030. Agriculture is a major source of livelihood for over 67 percent of the population,” said Deputy Minister Haritatos.
Zimbabwe, he said, remained food insecure despite having the highest dam density in Southern Africa.
“It is quite ironic that with more abundant land, water resources and favorable climatic conditions, to grow up to 23 crops and livestock enterprises, Zimbabwe remains food insecure and spends a substantial amount of foreign currency each year on imports of food and other essential commodities, while certain sections of the community languish in poverty, hunger and malnutrition,” said Deputy Minister Haritatos.
Deputy Minister Haritatos said the only solution to end food shortages was for farmers to fully utilise their pieces of land.
“The solution and most direct way of dealing with this crisis is in increasing agricultural production and productivity in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner,” he said.