By Moses Charedzera
The Minister of Lands, Agriculture Water and Rural Resettlement Dr Anxious Masuka has hailed the relationship between mining and agriculture and called for closer cooperation between the two sectors.
Speaking in a speech read by Clemence Taderera Bwenje, a Chief Director in the ministry at the Zimbabwe Agricultural Show Mining and Agriculture Breakfast Interface held this morning in Harare, Dr Masuka noted the centrality of agriculture and mining in economic development.
“Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy contributing 15% of GDP and supporting the majority of 67 percent of the population that lives in the rural areas. Agriculture generates the second highest in forex, driven by tobacco.
“But mining is no less important. Mining on its part drives the Zimbabwean economy, contributing over 17 percent of the GDP and generates the largest chunk of foreign currency.
“Both agriculture and mining employ millions of Zimbabweans and is the source of livelihood for millions more. They both use land”, he said.
Dr Masuka commended intervention by mining companies in the community at a time when the country is fighting the covid-19 pandemic.
“Where collaborations have been exploited, we have seen mining in partnership with agriculture value chains pour millions of dollars into schools, hospitals, clinics and recreational activities. This year they have been at the forefront of spearheading the fight against covid-19 through their contributions and interventions.
The minister hailed the relationship between mining companies and the agriculture sector which has seen the implementation of the Livestock Revitalisation Programme.
“One of the most successful initiative is the Livestock Revitalisation Programme which is utilising animal genetics to improve the quality and size of herds in rural areas. I would like to applaud mining companies for partnering us and ZAS in the programme.
“The livestock sector is an important source of livelihoods for the country’s rural households and contributes significantly to inclusive growth of the agriculture sector and the economy as well as food and nutrition security. It also earns significant foreign currency for the country,” said minister Masuka.
In her speech at the breakfast interface, read on her behalf, Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe President Ms Elizabeth Nerwande said mining companies are making significant investments in the community and in agriculture.
“On average the mining industry is spending about 6% of total expenditure on CSI and most of these initiatives have an agriculture bias. Agricultural projects take up between 3% and 11% of the CSI budget. Other key CSI areas by mining companies include health, education, infrastructure, Community Share Ownership Trusts and Local Enterprise Development’’
Ms Nerwande said mining companies investment in agriculture include livestock, horticulture, environmental sustainability and irrigation development.