Agriculture recovery potential has been amply demonstrated by the recent Government initiatives notably the Presidential Inputs Programme for Communal Farmers and Command Agriculture, which has contributed to a staggering 322% increase in maize production from 500 000 MT last year to over 2.1 million MT this just ended season.
Going forward, and to sustain agriculture recovery, the focus will be on increased productivity and full utilization of all agricultural land. Critically important also will be issues with respect to appropriately priced and longer term financing to reduce the costs for farmers, as well as heightened focus on irrigation infrastructure development and optimal utilization of existing water bodies.
Of significance is the need to ensure that going forward, Command Agriculture does not continue to rely heavily on the Fiscus as this is unsustainable. There is need to put in place mechanisms for sustainable private sector driven financing of Command Agriculture and in addition, the removal of pricing distortions so that the farmer benefits from the full value of agriculture productivity.
2.14 Building linkages through Beneficiation and local content development
Business supports the Government’s vision on beneficiation and acknowledges that it is only through increased value addition of the country’s minerals that the country can fully benefit from its resources. In light of this, business is championing beneficiation strategies to tap into quick-wins by resuscitating and “deepening” the existing beneficiation facilities for minerals such as nickel, chrome, iron ore and coal. For minerals that the country started extracting in the past decade such as platinum and diamonds, Government and Mining Houses have already agreed on a roadmap and criteria to set up the beneficiation facilities in the country.
On local content development, business is supportive of strengthening linkages between the mining and the manufacturing as well as other sectors especially those that provide inputs and supplies to the mining industry. As such, there are current initiatives to improve local content in mining sector. The Chamber of Mines and industry have already agreed on a framework to support local manufacturers and this is work in progress.
Continued next page