Senior Business Reporter
Government says it will restructure, rebuild, reform and transform at least 13 key agriculture institutions and State firms as part of ongoing efforts to improve the sector’s performance and contribution to economic growth and development.
Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister, Anxious Masuka, said the reorientation will be done under Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy (AFSTS).
The AFSTS strategy entails cross cutting interventions that will grow the contribution of agriculture to the gross domestic product (GDP) from 12 percent to 20 percent by 2025.
The minister made the remarks during the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) 2021 economic outlook symposium and 2020 manufacturing survey, held from this month on 4 and 5.
Among the entities targeted under the reorientation strategy are Agribank, Agriculture Marketing Authority (AMA), Grain Marketing Board (GMB), Tobacco Industry Marketing Board (TIMB), Cottco, Silo Foods and the Pig Industry Board (PIB).
Also among the targeted entities are the Zimbabwe Water Authority (ZINWA), Agriculture Research Council (ARC), Tobacco Research (TRB) Board, Cold Storage Company (CSC) and the Agriculture and Rural Development Authority (ARDA).
Agribank, ARDA, AMA, PIB, Silo Foods and Cottco were earmarked for transformation, TRB and TIMB for rebuilding, TRB, ZINWA, GMB and ARC for restructuring and TRB, ZINWA, GMB and PIB for reform.
“A case in point for the transformation ones is Agribank where we envisage the establishment of a land and agricultural bank with or small business units (SBU)s.
“First, the land bank itself, second Agribank as the commercial window, a leasing company; we have already given the leasing company about 23 combine harvesters and more than 40 tractors to start doing some work and we envisage that there will be an insurance arm under this (Agribank).”
Minister Masuka said AMA will work closely with farmers to ensure farming follows trends in the market while ARDA, will transform from administering agriculture to leading by example in farming for food, feed and fibre security and value addition.
Cottco, which covers over 400 000 farmers and more than 2 million dependants, will seek to ensure that farmers do more than just sell their crop but become active players along the value chain.
“CSC is under an administrator and in the next few weeks we are going to be announcing what we are going to be doing about the company,” Minister Masuka said.
He said ZINWA will do more than just administering the raw water bodies and supply, but also conveyancing of irrigation infrastructure, for instance, because the dam infrastructure “itself is not the project”.
Minister Masuka said the aim was to make sure that agriculture can stand better and is able to provide all the raw materials that industry requires for production, economic growth and development.
The Second Republic has made far reaching reforms in the economy and has identified agriculture and mining to provide quick turnaround solutions for the country. In this regard, women and the youths have been red-flagged given their centrality in economic reforms.