Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau
STATE Security Minister Kembo Mohadi who is also the legislator for Beitbridge East has challenged agro-dealers in Matabeleland to pay competitive prices when buying agricultural produce to enhance economic transformation.
In a speech read on his behalf by his wife, Senator for Beitbridge, Tambudzani Mohadi, during a district agricultural show held at Lutumba Business Centre last week, he said local farmers should determine the prices of their produce.
He said it was deplorable for agro-dealers to approach the local farmers with pre-determined prices.
The minister said the farmers, being the producers should get value for their produce by having a final say on the pricing issue.
The show, which was hosted by Congregations Around Richmond Involved to Assure Shelter (Caritas) was attended by over 100 exhibitors from across the semi-arid district.
The Beitbridge event was held a day before the opening of the Matabeleland South Provincial Show in Gwanda on Thursday and ran under the theme “Economic Transformation through sustainable innovations”.
Livestock production is the economic backbone of farmers in Matabeleland South province with an estimated 700 000 head of cattle.
“We are privileged to be a livestock production zone where conditions for good breeds of high grade are conducive,” he said.
“Therefore I want to challenge our farmers today to view crop and livestock production as a business not social status.
“Further, it is also crucial for agro-dealers to pay competitive prices for our livestock, crops and citrus if we are to achieve economic transformation”.
The Minister said people in the region should consider migrating from traditional ways of farming and venture into innovative and modern methods.
He said these include small grain production, conservation agriculture, agro-forestry, irrigation development, fodder production and conservation among others.
Speaking at the same occasion Caritas projects coordinator Mr Enoch Kwinikwa said they were running a goat value chain project in Beitbridge with 2 500 beneficiaries.
He said; “We are helping them with basic farming knowledge in terms of rearing and marketing.
“We are doing this with the assistance of related stakeholders including extension workers.
“Our focus is more on goat and fodder production which is also rife in this area”.
Matabeleland South Agricultural Show spokesperson, Mr Mvelo Zondo, said this year’s event recorded a 120 percent uptake of exhibition stands.
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