The Midlands Province has over the years become a net food importer; importing significant amounts of food to cover perennial food deficits; loosing huge amounts of the scarce foreign currency importing food and through lost potential foreign currency receipts from potential agriculture commodities exports in the process, the AGRITEX Midlands Province Head, Mrs. Monica Magwenzi has revealed.
Presenting a paper entitled; Agriculture for Development in Midlands Province, Zimbabwe.
Towards A New Paradigm For Success; at the Midlands Show Society Business Conference, Mrs. Magwenzi said that the situation we are in needs us to “refresh our strategy” to tackle these twine issues of rising net food deficit and loss of foreign currency to food imports and shrinking foreign currency receipts.
Mrs. Magwenzi said that the situation can be reversed if, “market participants, farmers, state (Government through Extension Services), investors, financial institutions, communities, research, private sector and donors,” were to works together.
The AGRITEX Midlands Province Head, said that, “Agriculture has remained the mainstay of our economy since pre-colonial times. In fact, before colonialism, agriculture was the main economic activity. As Zimbabwe modernised and industrialised, agriculture became a key component of this modernisation and industrialisation process.”
Mrs. Magwenzi noted that, “the Midlands province is facing two key gaps in agriculture today: Inability to meet domestic food requirements – productivity challenge and the inability to sell locally and export at quality levels required for market success – low market target knowledge, selection, grading, specifications etc.”
She noted that , “Food and nutrition security exists when all people at all times have physical, social and economic access to food, which is consumed in sufficient quantity and quality to meet their dietary needs and food preferences, and is supported by an environment of adequate sanitation, health services and care, allowing for a healthy and active life.”
Mrs. Magwenzi said that it has become a serious challenge for the province to Ensuring Food and Nutrition Security and provide “a growing population with sufficient and quality food, without threatening the already depleted natural resource base.”
She added that other challenge has to do with sustainability issues “as the basis for the needed structural transformation of the agri-food systems, in order to: ensure food and nutrition security; preserve the environment and provide jobs and social development opportunities for rural communities.”
Mrs. Magwenzi said that, “the Midlands province is also faced with current crises and resurgence of demands on agriculture for development following several years of agricultural neglect, five crises have put agriculture back on the development agenda: (mining and tourism)
- The food and financial crises: Rising food insecurity and hunger
- Stagnation of productivity growth in agriculture – low yields
- Provincial poverty still overwhelmingly rural
- Increasing rural-urban income disparities
- Rising resource scarcity and unmet demands for environmental services.
By Francis Bingandadi Managing Editor AgriSeason