Golden Sibanda Senior Business Reporter
President Mnangagwa’s administration has created an environment for equal access to economic opportunities between men and women since coming into power in November 2017, a senior Government official has said.
Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Douglas Karoro, revealed this while officially opening the inaugural Women in Agriculture Conference at ART Farm in Harare on Thursday.
The conference was held under the theme “Embracing Technology in Agriculture”.
The deputy minister said Government was committed to empowering women, which it demonstrated by crafting a gender-sensitive land policy and setting up of a bank dedicated to supporting women.
Deputy Minister Karoro, who is in charge of development of irrigation systems, dams and farm mechanisation, said women must take advantage of the equal access to opportunities in the domestic economy to improve their economic status.
“I want to acknowledge the role that His Excellency President Mnangagwa has played in creating a conducive operational environment in this country.
“And I want to salute all the women in this house for seizing that opportunity that has been created by His Excellency, President Mnangagwa and his Government.
“Most of you will agree with me that the operational environment has been levelled for you women in agriculture to take part in the economy,” he said.
Minister Karoro said President Mnangagwa had been to various countries across the world where he has been able to secure facilities for agricultural equipment that include tractors, which women will access.
“Our President, Cde Mnangagwa, has been moving around the world trying to make deals with other companies that are into irrigation equipment manufacturing, companies in manufacturing of tractors and other implements.
“I m happy to tell you that we have a number
of tractors and implements that are coming into the country as a result of President Mnangagwa’s deals that have been negotiated when he went outside.
“Now, I want to assure you women in agriculture that gone are the days when such equipment was
distributed in such a way that men would get a lion’s share and women would get just a few equipment,” he said.
Deputy Minister Karoro said the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement would make sure that going forward women receive an equal share of Government sourced agricultural implements.
The deputy minister said women played a key role to household and national food security, as they represented the majority in agricultural labour. He said empowering women was akin to empowering a nation.
He also said demand for land had continued to grow exponentially and Government was committed to empowering by facilitating access to agricultural land, as such a gender sensitive land policy was recently launched.
“His Excellency, The President Cde Mnangagwa during his inaugural statement boldly stated that ‘Zimbabwe is Open for Business’.
“I believe that as women you are moving on to embrace the open for business mantra, by working closely together to establish regional and international markets for your produce to bring the much needed foreign currency,” the deputy minister said.
He said the “Zimbabwe is Open for Business” mantra should challenge women in agriculture to realign their activities by coming up with feasible products, projects and initiatives that contribute to the success of agriculture.
“I am challenging you to embrace the ‘Zimbabwe is Open for Business’ mantra to create jobs, improve yields, quality of crops and yields to enhance livelihoods and to grow the economy through competitive exports.”