Agric sector continues to sing the blues

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THE agriculture industry has submitted project proposals worth $25 million to the Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA) in a bid to revive the sector, but has found no takers.

Gamma Mudarikiri
Own Correspondent

As of May, players in the agricultural sector — which has been in the doldrums since the start of President Robert Mugabe’s land reforms in 2000 — submitted seven proposals valued at $24,8 million, but failed to attract any investment.

According to submissions made to ZIA by industry players, a $3,8 million livestock production project, which will involve establishing a 1 000 sow weaner production is still on hold due to lack of financing.

Another $12,6 million poultry project is also yet to attract potential suitors.

An irrigation development and retailing project worth $2,5 million is also scouting for investment.

The project involves the supply of agriculture and farming equipment including tractors, combine harvesters, generators, forestry and garden equipment.

Another pharmaceuticals manufacturing company, Vetchem Animal Health, is also seeking an investment of $3 million in a joint venture to manufacture vaccines and medicines.

The company said a plant for the project is already standing in Harare, but additional equipment is required to fully implement the project.
According to the latest figures released by ZIA, in the five months to May this year, the agriculture sector failed to attract any foreign direct investment.

The Commercial Farmers’ Union blamed shunning of the sector by investors to lack of security after the government’s chaotic land reform programme in 2000 which saw Mugabe redistributing land to Zanu PF supporters.

Most of the beneficiaries of the land reform programme do not have lease agreements for the farms they acquired which could be used as collateral.
The agriculture sector continues on a downward path due to lack of finance and as a result the country has remained a net importer of food.

The country needs an estimated 1,8 million tonnes of grain to meet demand against the current national yield of just above 300 000 tonnes per annum.

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