ZFU Congress Preparations
ZFU congress preparations on course
ALL is set for the Zimbabwe Farmers Union annual congress to be held in Gweru tomorrow. The three-day event which will be held under the theme, “Coping with drought and climate change for sustainable agriculture practice” seeks to discuss and proffer solutions on matters affecting small holder farmers’ production levels.
In an interview, ZFU second-vice president Mr Berean Mukwende said farmers to attend the upcoming 73rd annual congress were coming from all eight farming provinces.
“Everything is now set for the ZFU 73rd annual congress to be held at Senga Public Training Centre.
“We are expecting farmers to attend the congress to come from all the eight farming provinces. The event will be officially opened on the first day by the Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development responsible for livestock Cde Paddy Zhanda,” he said.
He said topics to come under the spotlight at the conference include effects of climate change on small-holder agriculture, financing of small-holder agriculture, community development technology, and productivity as well as insurance and medical aid for small- holder farmers.
Mr Mukwende said officials from the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Union were also expected to attend the ZFU annual congress.
He said their annual congress was being held after the country successfully held peaceful harmonised elections and a new Government with one party in place.
He said this would alleviate policy inconsistency that existed during the tenure of the inclusive Government.
“As a result of policy inconsistency, the inclusive Government could not address issues affecting farmers such as drought.
The new Government has given agriculture prominence in the country as the ministry has two deputies to oversee the livestock and crop sectors. This shows that Government has the political will to support agriculture by addressing the challenges being faced by farmers.”
The ZFU congress comes at a time when concerted stakeholder efforts were critical to promote sustainable agriculture in the country considering the present low output levels. In the 2013 mid-term national budget, the Ministry of Finance revised agriculture growth downwards from 6,4 percent to 5,4 percent this year.
The downward revision was necessitated by economic stagnation the country experienced in the first half following the underperformance of key sectors of the economy.
Maize, groundnuts and cotton output in 2012/13 farming season were affected by poor rain season.
The second round crop and livestock assessment report from the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development indicates that 798 600 tonnes of maize will be realised in 2013, down from an initial projection of 1 100 000 tonnes, a further reduction from 968 000 tonnes recorded in 2012.