Boost for rural industrialisation

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By Tawanda Chenana

WE from the village are delighted to hear that the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme is now being implemented in the high-density suburbs of our cities and towns.

That is not the only cause for jubilation, the Rural Industrialisation Programme which directly benefits us, continues to be vigorously pushed.

The commencement of the construction of Vungu Dam in Silobela is a massive boost for the communities in the Midlands Province.

On completion, the dam will support three irrigation schemes of over 1 200 hectares as well as provide potable water.

Rural industrialisation is fast becoming a reality, just as our major roads were in no time transformed into beautiful infrastructure.

The construction of Vungu Dam presents numerous opportunities.

The recently completed and commissioned Muchekeranwa Dam in Mashonaland East, located 50km from Marondera Town at the boundary of Makoni and Marondera districts in Manicaland, has the potential to irrigate 2 250ha with a capacity of 75 million cubic metres of water.

The Muchekeranwa Dam, described as a high-impact and result-based community project, also came with the Presidential Community Fisheries Scheme, an irrigation project and the construction of the Muchekeranwa-Wenimbi pipeline.

Soon, across the country, our rural communities will no longer depend on rains for agricultural production.

And all-year production will accelerate the rural industrialisation programme.

One might wonder and ask if agriculture can transform lives in a significant way; I will share with you some agricultural facts.

The World Bank, not that we pay much attention to what it says, estimates that African agriculture and agribusiness could be worth US$1 trillion by 2030.

Experts opine that agriculture is the world’s largest industry employing more than one billion people and generating over US$1,3 trillion worth of food annually. 

Pasture and cropland occupy around 50 percent of the earth’s habitable land and provide habitat and food for a multitude of species. Africa, Zimbabwe in particular, has some of the best soils and climate in the world to support agricultural activities.

Our Government, the Second Republic, is doing everything to ensure that we become beneficiaries by being active players and participants in this billion-dollar industry.

Indeed, demand for agricultural commodities is rising rapidly as the world’s population grows.

And agriculture’s deep connections to the world economy, human societies and biodiversity make it one of the most important frontiers for sustainable development.

I was delighted to hear His Excellency state, during the commissioning of the innovation and Agro-industrial Park at Marondera University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, that we are fully embracing technology in our agricultural activities.

It is in rural areas and farming communities that we have vast arable land and water sources.

It is no secret that rural industrialisation will be anchored by agricultural activities.

And Government is going out of its way to ensure that these activities are fully supported.

To my rural folk, I urge you not to be left behind.

Rural industrialisation is not a Government programme, it is our programme.

Let us craft and take blueprints to Government which is ready to receive and support us.

The young and educated in the village take the lead.

Every villager must become a champion for rural industrialisation.

We must be the major shareholders in the agro-businesses that are going to be birthed by the ongoing programme.

So much has been done for us, it is time we play our part.

The Rural Industrialisation Programme is gathering momentum, the Government has made it clear that no place or person will be left behind, so let us not shortchange ourselves.

Let us ensure that we will all be smiling all the way to the bank.

Let us ensure that we will be the ones feeding, not just our country or the continent but the world.

This is no time for naysayers and doubters but believers as well as men and women of action.

This is our time rural folk! 

Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo/ Ilizwe liyakwa ngabanikazi. 

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