Monday, June 03, 2013

(HERALD ZW) Agriculture policy draft out
Friday, 24 May 2013 00:00
Agriculture Reporter

The Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development has come up with a draft agriculture policy to improve the overall competitiveness of the sector, Minister Joseph Made has said.

In a speech read on his behalf by the Principal Director, Livestock and Veterinary Services, Dr Unesu Obatolu Ushewokunze, at the Combined Livestock Symposium held recently, Minister Made said the policy document was focussed on raw material availability, productivity, animal health, marketing efficiency and trade facilitation among other things.

He said the draft policy promotes mutually beneficial contract farming arrangements to help farmers grow key food and feed crops such as maize and soyabeans.

“My ministry strives to continue improving the management of raw material imports by industry players to ensure efficient and cost-effective raw material acquisition,” he said. He added that the policy also supports improvement in training, research and extension through the Department of Research and Specialist Services, Pig Industry Board, agricultural colleges and universities among others.

Officers from the ministry are expected to collaborate with various private sector institutions to equip livestock farmers with knowledge and skills.
Minister Made said the draft policy proposes an active role by the ministry in ensuring surveillance, prevention and response to disease outbreaks.

This is aimed at strengthening the Veterinary Services Department in supporting production, productivity competitiveness and sustainable livestock production. Through its departments and parastatal, the ministry is aiming at improving efficiency of the agricultural market system.

“We would like to ensure an efficient and fairness under a liberalised marketing system and as part of the marketing policy, the ministry is committed to value addition of all primary produce to boost the impact of agriculture on the economy,” he said.

The draft policy also emphasises on improving trade in agricultural products through maintenance of liberal export and foreign exchange polices, simplified agricultural trade regulations and negotiation of favourable bilateral agricultural trade agreements.

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