The year 2017 is looking very promising and there is every reason to be optimistic that the country will record a remarkable economic growth. The agro-based economy will obviously be spurred by the expected bumper harvest and Government has already announced that it has suspended maize imports as it has enough in its reserves to last the country until the next harvest.
It is estimated that the country will surpass its target of two million tonnes of maize, enough to meet its annual consumption. What this means is that most of the raw materials for industries in the agro-processing sector will be available locally as opposed to relying on imports as is the case now.
Government which assisted farmers to boost production this cropping season through its Command Agriculture Scheme, has extended the scheme to cover the winter cropping season and the main crop is wheat.
The country is again expecting to boost wheat production as farmers will be assisted with inputs such as seed, fertilizers, chemicals and fuel to prepare the land. Many investors are already taking advantage of the prevailing conducive investment climate as evidenced by the new companies coming up in the different towns and cities.
One of the new companies, Livetouch Investments from China, has already started cement production at its Redcliff plant. The plant has a capacity to produce 400 000 tonnes of cement a year.
The company expects to employ about 200 workers under its first phase and the figure is expected to double under phase two. Government through the Office of the President and Cabinet has since last year been working on measures to enhance ease of doing business whose major thrust is to reduce bureaucracy when it comes to approving investment projects.
These efforts are already paying dividends and we expect more foreign companies to invest in the country after this year’s Zimbabwe International Trade Fair scheduled for the end of this month.
We want to call on local companies to partner with these foreign companies so that as locals we also benefit from the exploitation of our natural resources such as minerals. The challenge to both the Government and the private sector is therefore to maintain this momentum in order to realise a quick economic turnaround.