By Munyaradzi Musiiwa
Renewed illegal economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the United States will not deter an increase in agriculture productivity through land utilisation to ensure food security at household level, Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri has said.
Minister Shiri said farmers must ignore the sanctions and remain focused on transforming the agricultural sector.
He said sanctions should not be used as a leverage to cause farmers to under-perform and underutilise land.
“Sanctions have nothing to do with our farming and productivity so we should free ourselves in that sector,” said Minister Shiri.
“We can perform better even when we have sanctions. We have land, water and other resources that would enable us to enhance productivity.”
Minister Shiri said Government was looking for more cotton farmers to benefit from the input support scheme and contract farming to enhance cotton productivity in the country.
He said Zimbabwean cotton was in high demand in Europe adding that it has been rated the best in the manufacture of denim wear.
Minister Shiri said there was an acute shortage of cotton farmers in the country to meet the demand.
“I was informed that Zimbabwean cotton was the best in making clothing material for jeans. Our cotton is on demand in Europe and we need to produce more cotton.
“We have a shortage of farmers. We are looking for farmers who are willing to grow cotton so that we meet the demand.”
Minister Shiri said there was need for reorientation of farmers to be more innovative and business minded.
He said farmers should start exploring European markets and take advantage of the country’s open for business mantra.
“There are a lot of opportunities in farming that we need to take up as a country we will be able to generate foreign currency from exports,” he said.
“Even our beef is on demand in Europe. It is up to us to explore these opportunities. South Africa generates a lot of money for the exportation of fruits, why can’t we do the same.”