Mashonaland West Bureau
Citizens of Zimbabwe and Namibia should start benefiting from the deep relations that exist between the two countries, dating back to the days of the liberation struggle, Provincial Affairs Minister for Mashonaland West Mary Mliswa-Chikoka has said.
Speaking at the end of the Rundu Farmers‘ Market in Kavango East Province in Namibia last week, Minister Mliswa-Chikoka said the two countries should strive to equip their farmers so that they feed their citizens.
She hailed the twinning arrangement between Mashonaland West and the Kavango East province which was signed in July this year.
President Mnangagwa and his Namibian counterpart, President Hage Geingob, witnessed the signing ceremony.
“Our countries have a long-term relationship that dates back to the days of our liberation struggle and have continued to flourish over the years,” said Minister Mliswa-Chikoka.
“This friendship at bilateral level needs to be strengthened at all levels and it is with this spirit that I proudly stand before you as our two regions continue to bolster our relations.”
Minister Mliswa-Chikoka emphasised the need to increase agricultural production among farmers from Mashonaland West and Kavango East.
“We can only achieve this if our farmers are equipped, resourced and strengthened, hence the importance of such an event,” she said.
Minister Mliswa-Chikoka, who shares a passion in farming with her Kavango East counterpart Dr Samuel Mbambo, said poverty in Africa must be a thing of the past.
“A planned, coordinated and purposeful use of the land should be key in achieving food security and poverty alleviation,” she said.
The farmers market was held under the theme: “Climate smart agricultural systems of drought mitigation strategies for sustainable rural livelihoods in Namibia.”
Minister Mliswa-Chikoka urged farmers to take note of the challenges associated with climate change so as to adapt, research and come up with best practices to increase productivity on the land.
“As we adapt to the new technologies, it is important that we understand the environment and geography in our countries in order to make the best of what we have,” she said.
“Accordingly, it is important to go back to the basics and also start producing our traditional grains that our forefathers used to cultivate.”
Minister Mliswa-Chikoka said Zimbabwe had since realised that it was paramount to go back to traditional cropping of sorghum, rapoko and millet.
She travelled to Namibia with three female farmers from Mashonaland West to underscore President Mnangagwa’s drive to empower women in Zimbabwe.