Failure by the Agricultural Rural Development Authority (ARDA) to fully execute its mandate has been identified as the missing link to the country’s dreams of attaining food security.
ARDA is a government entity that was formed with a mandate to drive crop and livestock growth to ensure food security. Current agriculture minister Dr Joseph Made who also manages presidential agricultural projects is a past chief executive officer of the failed institution.
ARDA has 100 000 hectares of land, 59 000 of them arable but has been operating at only 30 percent capacity.
Most of ARDA’s resources were reportedly vandalised by top ruling party and government officials.
ZBC News reports that the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, Davis Mharapira conceded that ARDA needs to do more to help the country attain food security.
ARDA Board Chairperson, Basil Nyabadza a close ally of ousted former state security minister Didymus Mutasa confirmed that the institution has not operated at its potential.Nyabadza once gave up chairmanship of Manicaland province when Mutasa was sidelined in the race for Zanu (PF) chairmanship.He runs Reapers a thriving groundnut business.
Out of the 59 000 arable land, ARDA has only put 1400 hectares under maize in Matabeleland provinces, 500 hectares of soya beans in the Midlands and 250 hectares of sugar beans in Chiredzi, Masvingo province.
Recently, Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko expressed dismay at ARDA’s negligence in leaving equipment lying idle and getting dilapidated in some parts of the country.