By Staff Reporter
VICE President Constantino Chiwenga says there was need for increased investment in wheat production in the once mainstay of the economy through private sector support to individual farmers.
Speaking at a Winter Wheat Programme in Kwekwe Friday, Chiwenga told farmers wheat production was essential for a country that is directing millions of scarce financial resources every year to import the staple.
“The agricultural sector is a key economic enabler which propels and generates growth in all sectors of the economy.
“The sector also provides the much-needed household nutrition and national food security.
“The production of winter wheat is therefore, essential for the country, as it provides the raw materials for the bread and confectionery industry,” Chiwenga said.
The VP said there was need for increased investment towards realising bigger yields on the cereal.
“In this regard, there is need for increased investment by the private sector and individual farmers to augment government efforts in revamping the sector,” he said.
Chiwenga said government has since provided guarantees for 65 000 hectares and the private sector 15 000 hectares thus bringing the total hectarage to 80 000.
“This is testimony that, when we pool resources together, the country can achieve great milestones and reduce risk,” he said.
The government introduced the winter wheat programme in order to boost local production of wheat and reduce over reliance on imports.
The programme is financed through CBZ agro-yield facility, which has assisted farmers with lines of credit for inputs, agro-chemicals and fuel for the production of winter wheat.
“Let me hasten to say that the production of wheat is not the preserve of A2 farmers and large scale institutions only, but can be done by all farming sectors including communal and A1 farmers as well as smallholder irrigation schemes,” Chiwenga said.
The VP further said the revival of the once thriving wheat industry will assist in turning around the agricultural sector and also play a central role in improving the food security situation in the country.
“The government is committed to providing an enabling environment to give impetus to the recovery of the sector.
“This will be done through deliberate efforts to attract investors for joint ventures within the value chains in agriculture,” he said.
The initiatives include promotion of out grower schemes and public partnerships in rehabilitation of irrigation infrastructure.
Meanwhile, farmers will be capacitated through the provision of technical expertise.