PRESIDENT Mnangagwa says players in the agriculture sector should employ modern technologies to enhance productivity, boost food security and nutrition. Innovative solutions, he said, should help Zimbabwean products enter the global value chain.
The President said this while officially opening the inaugural Zimbabwe Agricultural Show at the Exhibition Park in Harare yesterday.
The fair was attended by Vice President Kembo Mohadi, ministers, senior Government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, farmers' organisations, captains of industry and multitudes of show-goers.
The President implored captains of industry and commerce to be proactive and support agriculture by ensuring the production of raw materials for the manufacturing sector. He said this year's show theme; "Technology, Innovation and Modernisation: Adopt, Accentuate and Accelerate," resonated well with the national vision of modernising and industrialising the country through innovative and new technologies.
"The theme is therefore a timely reminder to stakeholders across the economic spectrum and agriculture to use and deliberately deploy modern technologies which spur productivity and growth.
"I call upon players in the agriculture sector to facilitate the use of innovative solutions to enhance agricultural productivity. Aspects such as block chain financing, crowd farming, precision agriculture, artificial intelligence, satellite and drone analytics and other modern-based services should be pursued," he said. The President challenged captains of industry to come on board and be proactive in supporting the agriculture industry through its value chains.
"To attain Vision 2030, we cannot afford to have idle, unproductive or underutilised land. Equally, our captains of industry and commerce must be proactive, by supporting agriculture and its attendant value chains. Under the Second Republic, there cannot be a "them and us" mentality.
Sustainable economic growth will take all of us, working together across all sectors," he said. President Mnangagwa encouraged various agriculture organisations to enter into partnerships to boost agricultural productivity and establish linkages with regional counterparts to learn best practices and boost productivity.
"I challenge various agriculture organisations to vigorously pursue win-win partnerships that will help grow, modernise and mechanise the sector. The farming community must also establish and encourage linkages with other regional agricultural organisations to share contemporary best practices.
"On our part, my Government will continue to put in place a conducive economic and policy environment for the success of all investments," he said.
He expressed the need for an in increase in collaborations around research, innovation and technology development and expressed gratitude over the increase in co-operation between tertiary institutions and the agriculture industry.
"Agriculture remains the backbone of our economy and key contributor to national economic development, in line with our national vision and aspirations. "It is encouraging to note the increased co-operation between our institutions of higher of learning and the agriculture sector," he said.
President Mnangagwa encouraged beneficiaries of the land reform to put their land to maximum use to boost agricultural production to meet the nutritional dietary needs of the nation as well as produce for the export market.
"I exhort beneficiaries of the land reform to be farmers, not mere farm owners. The new agrarian revolution requires beneficiaries to give due attention to improving productivity across all crops.
"The rationale behind our historic irreversible land reform programme was to empower the indigenous people with the greatest factor of production, which is land.
"We must now, therefore, roll up our sleeves and assure maximum productivity. To attain vision 2030, we cannot afford to have idle, unproductive or underutilised land," he said.
Zimbabwe Agricultural Society president, Mr Ngoni Kudenga said there was need to mainstream technology innovation and modernisation to boost growth in the agriculture industry and attain Vision 2030.
"We need to mainstream technology, innovation and modernisation in every aspect of the agricultural value chain, from field to industry, if agriculture has to grow at the desirable rate of 10 percent annually in pursuit of Vision 2030. We must do so conscientiously, consistently and persistently at every stage of the field to industry continuum. We perhaps should not re-invent the wheel but rather seek smart opportunities to adopt, accentuate and accelerate any technology, innovation and modernisation idea or activity, thus the theme for 2019.
"On Wednesday the National Economic Consultative Forum and ZAS co-organised the 7th Annual National Agribusiness Conference which sought to interrogate factors that led to successful production last year and to highlight the challenges ahead and gauge preparations for yet another successful agricultural season to ensure Zimbabwe maintains its food security now and into the future," he said.