Zim now food autonomous, exports surplus Dr John Basera

Edgar Vhera Agriculture Specialist Writer

ZIMBABWE has passed the inflection point where it was grappling with food insecurity issues and is now in a sustainable growth mode, not only to attain food self-sufficiency but surplus for export.

These remarks were made by Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Permanent Secretary Dr John Basera recently at Seed Co field day at Rattray Arnold’s Research Station.

“Zimbabwe is past the inflection point where it was grappling with food insecurity issues and it is now in a sustainable growth mode, not only to attain food self-sufficiency but surplus for export.

“This is on the backdrop of the latest statistics contained in the State of Food Security and Nutrition report which shows the world is moving backwards in efforts to eliminate hunger and malnutrition,” said Dr Basera.

Dr Basera said according to the report the number of people affected by hunger globally rose to 828 million in 2021, an increase of about 46 million since 2020 and 150 million since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

As a result of robust research and development in the seed sector, farmers are getting hybrid seeds that are produced to counteract the adverse impact of climate change.

“Small-scale farmers have been contributing enormously to food and nutrition security by providing the staple maize, which assures our country of food security, both nationally and at the household level.

“Large scale commercial agriculture in addition to contributing to food security of the country go further by engaging in diversified production to enable the country to earn foreign currency through exports,” continued Dr Basera.

Dr Basera said all cropping initiatives start with the right seed adding that the foundation of development for a vibrant agricultural sector rested in a vibrant seed sub-sector.

The sustainable development of the agriculture sector helps the country to achieve sustainable development goals (SDG) one and two, which advocate the eradication of poverty and hunger respectively. The growth of the agriculture sector also creates employment both within the agriculture and manufacturing industries through provision of adequate raw materials.

Seed Co Global Head of Research and Development Mr Gorden Mabuyaye said the field day gave farmers an opportunity to witness plant genetics on a wide range of field crops such as maize, soya beans, sugar beans, rice, groundnuts, cow peas and traditional grains among others.

The field day also highlighted the influence of planting time and optimum plant population on production through demonstration of a “stress wheel” planted at different populations showing the difference in cob sizes and eventual output.

Mr Mabuyaye also disclosed that their organisation was working in tandem with the Government to ensure that the nation achieves its Vision 2030 goal of a prosperous and empowered upper middle-income society.

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