Govt targets beneficiation in agriculture sector

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Livingstone Marufu
HARARE – Government is mulling plans to compel all agriculture producers beneficiate their products before exporting crops to increase earnings.

This comes at a time when the authorities are pushing for value addition across all sectors.

Finance and Economic Planning deputy minister Terrence Mukupe told Senate last week that the country will realise more export revenues if it value adds all its Command Agriculture products.

“We are moving towards serious horticulture production and start exporting roses, avocados and flower products. 

“There is need to take the issue of beneficiation seriously.  If I give you an example, for a dollar value of cotton that you export – if you were going to beneficiate it and turn it into lint, you will realise eight times as much,” said deputy minister Mukupe.

He added:

“At the present moment, if we export $100 million in cotton – if we beneficiate that, it ends up being $800 million. 

“If we look at tobacco where we are talking of over $500 million to $600 million in tobacco which we are exporting; if we beneficiate it and it ends up being cart rack – we are talking about seven times much which is about $3 billion in exports.” 

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has called for producers to start beneficiating goods so that it will help in solving the foreign currency issue. 

There is also need to increase productivity on the farms in order to realise more capital for the agriculture sector.

This also comes at a time when Zimbabwe’s agriculture sector is moving to double agriculture’s contribution to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in order to create enough capacity to resume food exports into the region.

Farmers were called to take   advantage of programmes that Government continues to avail to ensure that all land is utilised optimally.

Command Agriculture programme has since been extended to the livestock sector as well as schemes for tobacco, soya beans and wheat to increase productivity.

Government was up scaling efforts to promote irrigation so that farmers couldn’t continue relying on natural rains whose reliability is being affected by climate change.

Land audits are also underway to ensure that there is proper investment in the agriculture.

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