Agriculture and mining are driving the Zimbabwean economy hence the need for serious investment in the two sectors, Dr. Anxious Masuka, the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, and Rural Resettlement has said.
He made the remarks during an interface meeting with stakeholders in the agricultural and mining value chain during the 110th edition of the Zimbabwe Agricultural show in Harare last week.
“Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy and supports the majority of 67 percent of the population that lives in rural areas. Farmers however utilise the topsoil while miners make use of the layers below.
“Mining on its part drives the Zimbabwean economy, contributing over 17 percent of the GDP and generates the largest chunk of foreign currency,” Dr. Masuka said.
He said agriculture, driven by tobacco generates the second-highest in forex figures. Both agriculture and mining employ millions of Zimbabweans and is the source of livelihood for millions more.
While conflicts between farmers and miners hog the limelight, the result of their close collaboration are sometimes underreported.
In partnership with agriculture value chains, mining companies pour millions of dollars into schools, hospitals, clinics, and recreational activities. This year they have been at the forefront of spearheading the fight against COVID-19 through their contributions and interventions.
They proved their mettle when they stood head and shoulder in supporting efforts aimed at mitigating against COVID-19.
The miners understand too well that without supportive communities, responsible local and national policies and a motivated workforce their work won’t just be tough but almost impossible.
Agriculture on its part provides food and sustenance for the miners and the relationship between the two sectors is inextricably interwoven and even deeper as the miners invest their earnings in agriculture.
“So, we have a partnership grounded on mutual respect and collaboration. As the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, and Rural Resettlement, we are happy that mining companies are partnering communities in agricultural ventures.
“One of the most successful initiatives is the Livestock Revitalisation Programme which is utilising animal genetics to improve the quality and size of herds in rural areas. I would like to applaud mining companies for partnering with us and ZAS in the programme,” Dr Masuka said.
The livestock sector is an important source of livelihoods for the country’s rural households and contributes significantly to inclusive growth of the agriculture sector and the economy as well as food and nutrition security. It also earns significant foreign currency for the country.
“This support by mining companies dovetails into the Livestock Growth Plan which is part of the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy, that seeks to achieve an US$8.2 billion agriculture economy by 2025 capable of anchoring and propelling Zimbabwe towards the Vision 2030 goal of an upper-middle-income economy.
“The Livestock Growth Plan seeks to grow the livestock sector to a US$1.9 billion economy by 2025 and with the support of the mining sector, this can easily be achieved,” the Minister added.
He said while agriculture took a knock from poor rains and covid-19 this year with production, markets and logistics all suffering, the weather forecast for this coming agricultural season is normal to above normal and promises to be a good year, a time to scale up interventions meant to support crop and livestock production.
The government on its part is seized with ensuring food security at household levels through the Pfumvudza initiative. Dr. Masuka called for closer cooperation and partnerships that can move Zimbabwe closer to vision 2030 while creating beneficial relationships for both the agriculture and mining sectors.
Windmill Private Limited is one company that is playing a great role in boosting the country’s livestock through the provision of a variety of stock feeds for poultry and cattle.
The company also supplies fertiliser for crops since plants require particular types of nutrients at specific growth stages. Fertilisers are substances that supply plant nutrients and are the most effective means of increasing crop production and of improving the quality of food, fodder and ornamental plants.
Fertilizers are used in order to supplement the natural nutrient supply in the soil, especially to correct soil deficiencies.
“The use of soil tests can help to determine the status of plant-available nutrients to develop fertilizer recommendations to achieve optimum crop production.
“Efficient application of the correct types and amounts of fertilisers for the supply of the nutrients is an important part of achieving profitable yield,” said Mr. George Rundogo, the Chief Executive Officer of Windmill Private Limited.