By Collen Murahwa
ZimAsset’s Food Security and Nutrition Cluster remains Government’s top priority as it is a source of livelihood that helps to propel economic growth, a senior Government official has said. Speaking during the launch of Life Brand Agricultural Services Programme in Mvurwi last week, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development responsible for Cropping Davis Marapira said the thrust of various agricultural schemes by Government was to ensure good nutrition and economic growth.
“Food security and nutrition remains a top priority for Zimbabwe, as a source of sustainable livelihoods for the population as well as stimulus for economic growth and development,” he said.
“The national economic blueprint, Zim-Asset, sets the national objective of attaining food security and nutrition. Agriculture is the backbone of our nation and if it is not done properly, the nation is paralysed.”
Deputy Minister Marapira said Government was now targeting small grains and livestock production to create more employment and sustainability in the sector, hence schemes such as the Life Brand.
“We are now targeting small grains and livestock production and Life Brand is a vision which complements Government in achieving Zim-Asset objectives,” he said.
“They have proven their worth in supporting small-scale farmers through infrastructure development, agricultural solar technologies advancement, contract farming, value addition, packaging, as well as handling and marketing of crops to the local and export markets.”
Life Brand Agricultural Services managing director Mr Israel Isdory Kembo said his company gave infrastructure credit to farmers, which covered all equipment and infrastructure required, as well as inputs which they used under a contract system.
“We give farmers non-monetary credit facilities, expertise and farming inputs as well as contract them under a facility whereby we provide the market and constantly monitor their crops,” he said.
“For those farmers who are closer to dams, there is a solar-powered dripping irrigation facility and where there are no dams, we drill boreholes and put up a solar-powered irrigation facility.”