Government is open to new and innovative ideas to boost agricultural production and enhance national food security, a senior official has said.
Opening a high-level stakeholder validation workshop on agricultural policy in Harare on Wednesday, Deputy Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet Retired Colonel Christian Katsande said Government also came up with various initiatives and programmes aimed at boosting national food security.
The workshop was organised by the National Economic Consultative Forum (NECF) in conjunction with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to present, discuss and validate five studies which are expected to lead to increased agricultural productivity in the country.
The five studies were on maize, genetically modified organism (GMO) policy, land tenure, irrigation and livestock production.
Rtd Col Katsande said the country needs new ideas to boost economic growth.
“In that regard, we should not be afraid to put forward new, but well-researched evidence based on points of view. It is only through such a process of discussion and dialogue that we can achieve the best outcomes for our people and our country. As we say at the NECF, ‘Together We Make Zimbabwe Great’,” he said.
The agriculture sector generates 30 percent of the country’s export earnings and contributes about 13 percent to the GDP while 70 percent of the population derives their livelihood from farming.
“I would like to commend the NECF for taking this initiative to collaborate with progressive and proactive partners to broaden the scope of Government’s policy reform agenda in an important sector,” he said.
Rtd Col Katsande commended NECF’s collaboration with USAID-Strategic Economic Research Analysis for undertaking the research to restore the country’s status.
He said the objective of the policy research was to come up with possible policy options that the country could consider to achieve food security through increased maize production, revitalisation of the livestock sector so it could make a significant contribution to the livelihoods of farmers in natural regions 3, 4 and 5.
“The interim Poverty Reduction Strategy announced by Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa recently highlighted pillar 1 on agriculture productivity, growth and rural food security spelling out key deliverables and targets on irrigation development financing and marketing of agricultural commodities,” he said.
Rtd Col Katsande said he was glad the studies were carried out by seven experts, six of whom are Zimbabwean.
NECF executive secretary Mr Norman Chakanetsa said the five studies, conducted by seven experts, were motivated by the need to contribute towards increasing productivity of the agriculture sector.
“Our desire is to help the country in the quest to achieve self-sufficiency in food production as enunciated in the Zim-Asset’s Food Security and Nutrition Cluster. It is my hope that the studies will make a positive impact on the agriculture sector,” he said.
Credit: All Africa