Food security took centre stage in parliament with legislators querying what the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development is doing in order to ensure that the country is food secure in light of poor harvests.
Zimbabwe is in the process of importing maize to ensure the country is food secure with Minister of Agriculture, Dr Joseph Made saying government will import 700,000 tonnes of maize as the final crop assessment report has indicated that the country’s maize production went down by 49 percent.
Legislators were keen to know why the agriculture ministry was seemingly sitting on its laurels as the country is facing food shortages.
“We are working to secure grain. We hope that we will be able to develop our irrigation infrastructure. Furthermore, we encourage farmers to grow more drought resistant varieties,” said Mayor Justice Wadyajena, Gokwe-Nembudziya legislator.
Dr Made was also queried at what government was doing in order to stem the increase in foot and mouth which has hampered the country’s efforts in exporting to the European bloc.
“We have always vaccinated our cattle from foot and mouth. This year however, we have had more cattle affected by foot and mouth,” said Dr Made.
On resuscitation of growing the white gold, cotton, Dr Made said efforts are underway to ensure the crop becomes a source of livelihoods for farmers in areas such as Gokwe where it was a source of livelihood for many.
“We have talked about the resuscitation of cotton as a crop at cabinet level. I am confident that this will soon be a reality,” he added.
Experts said there is need for greater efforts to be made to ensure agriculture is supported so that Zimbabwe returns to its status as the Bread Basket of Southern Africa.
The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) is also under fire for failure to pay farmers for their grain, a situation that has led to most of them abandoning the crop.