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Regional and international companies are willing to work with Zimbabwe to boost agricultural production in crop and livestock sectors, a senior Government official has said.

This is so despite illegal sanctions imposed on the country by the West.

Addressing a workshop at the University of Zimbabwe organised by the Organisation for Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa (OSSREA), Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, Dr Joseph Made, said many international organisations had shown an interest to assist Zimbabwe despite challenges such as the illegal sanctions and climate related problems.

“Since our major thrust to conclude our agrarian and land reform in 2000, our farmers have worked with little resources. The country has been affected by Western imposed illegal sanctions.

“The agrarian and land reform in Zimbabwe shall not be reversed, our main issue now is to increase production and productivity. Many companies, regional and international, are keen to produce crops and livestock in partnership with Zimbabwe,” he said.

Dr Made said this gave the country an opportunity to boost production and enhance value addition of the produce.

“This gives us a chance to direct these initiatives towards farmers to produce commodities required to support our agro-industries.

“Agriculture commodities will then be processed locally so that we export finished products thereby supporting industrialisation and raw material beneficiation. This further creates employment and better income earnings,” he said.

He said Zimbabwe was now venturing into a massive farm and agriculture modernisation programme.

The lead countries in assisting Zimbabwe in this exercise are Algeria, Egypt, India, Brazil, France, Iran, South Korea, China and Italy, among others.

“China, Brazil and Japan have dispatched agronomists and other experts to work with us directly in the field. China is currently training our staff in various fields of agriculture.

“Further, state-of-the-art centres have been constructed for testing machinery and equipment at Gwebi (China) and the Institute of Agriculture Engineering (South Korea) and the National Food Testing Laboratory (India). The value of the centres, including state-of-the-art laboratory equipment, exceeds $35 million,” he said.

Zimbabwe embarked on the land reform programme in 2000, which has so far benefited over 300 000 households.

Source : The Herald