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Major survey interrogates local agriculture financing

AGRICULTURE financing will be among the key issues that will come out of the Zimbabwe Agriculture Sector Survey, which will be released to the public next Wednesday by the leading economic research think-tank, Africa Economic Development Strategies (AEDS).
The survey, which is a brainchild of The Financial Gazette and the Zimbabwe Agricultural Society (ZAS) in partnership with CBZ Bank, will be unveiled at a breakfast meeting in Harare.

“There are also quite interesting thematic areas that we look at such as access to finance and even the role of government funding in the agriculture sector. How is it affecting productivity and yields across major areas, which are being supported by the government,” AEDS executive director Gift Mugano told this publication.

Gift Mugano, economist

“We also cover issues of climate change and vulnerability, issues of irrigation, and how irrigation is being used to combat possible effects of climate change. We cover key infrastructure issues; silos for grain storage, the state of affairs in those silos is also critical for food security, feeder roads which are very important elements of infrastructure to give access to farms, dip tanks, equipment and machinery, the availability of combine harvesters, tractors.”

He said the survey will expose opportunities for interested agriculture investors.
“The survey will also showcase opportunities that arise due to deficiencies where, say, banks can come in and cover that gap,” Mugano said.
“The opportunities could come from deficiencies in production, for example in horticulture because investors would want to see where they can put their money in agriculture.

“So, where we may expose problems, we will also be showcasing opportunities that are there. For example, in the dairy sector, there is a huge opportunity for investors to come in.

“We also look at benchmarking, how we are performing compared to other countries in the region. We look at things such as efficiency in livestock production, we also look at emerging issues like industrial hemp; what role is it going to play as a new kid on the block?
“We will also show issues that could be key takeaways for the government, for players in the ecosystem of the agriculture sector such as insurance, banks, other players in the value chain such as agro-processors,” Mugano added.

ZAS chief executive Andrew Matibiri has also said the survey will provide critical information on the state of the country’s agriculture industry.
“The thinking behind this initiative was that the survey should go out and collect authentic, independent information on the state of agriculture in the country. This information would then be availed to whoever or whatever sector of the economy requires it,” Matibiri said.

“We are looking to get very authentic accurate information on the state of agriculture. It will provide information that will be useful for anyone that wants to invest in agriculture or anyone that wants to improve productivity in agriculture and bankers and students and academics and above all, it will feed into national policies. This year’s survey will be the fourth edition and it has gotten better with time. It is now much better and very accurate,” he added.