The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) says the government must prioritise funding for agriculture in the 2015 national budget or risk ‘wasting’ funds on food imports.
In August, President Robert Mugabe said the country had become self-sufficient with maize and grain production output expected to pass 1.7 million tonnes, the highest in five seasons, but farmers organisations last week decried the poor preparations for the 2014/2015 preparations.
“Agriculture can play a very important role in improving our trade performance in that there is substantial capacity to increase the volume of agricultural exports and at the same time reduce our food import bill by expanding the output of commodities like maize, wheat, oilseeds, dairy, and poultry,” the CFU said in submissions to Treasury.
The union, made mostly of white commercial farmers, asked that government to ensure that its fiscal regime is supportive of boosting productivity in the farming and other sectors.
“Previously this sector was highly diversified, employed the most people in formal employment, was the main export sector, and had the most backward and forward linkages with other sectors of the Zimbabwean economy, especially the manufacturing sector,” said CFU.
“Thus recovery in the agricultural sector will be the main catalyst for securing rapid rates of growth that Zimbabwe’s economy needs to catch up with the levels being achieved by other countries in the region.”
The country, CFU added, is capable of achieving food security for its population “to continue to waste foreign exchange on importing large quantities of basic foods when these monies could be better utilised in promoting economic development.”- The Source