Category archives for: Agriculture

Zimbabwe: ‘Livestock Population Declines’

By Abigail Mawonde

The livestock population has fallen by nearly 40 000 beasts since last year, the Department of Livestock Production and Veterinary Services has said. Addressing delegates attending a workshop on livestock production organised by the Zimbabwe Agricultural Society, the department’s principal livestock officer Mr Passmore Nyamadzawo emphasised the need for restocking to ensure food security as spelt out in the Food Security and Nutrition Cluster of Zim-Asset.

The workshop brought together stakeholders in livestock production and was the first of its kind.

“The unpredictable weather patterns being experienced in the region leave livestock as the way to go due to its resilience and potential for growth,” he said. “However, there are numerous challenges and opportunities in the development of the livestock sector in Zimbabwe.”

Mr Nyamadzawo said there was need to take livestock farming as a business. “There is, therefore, a need to have a shift of mind in the way the livestock industry is operating,” he said. “The thrust of Food Security and Nutrition cluster is to create a self-sufficient and food surplus economy and see Zimbabwe re-emerge as the bread basket of Southern Africa.”

Added Mr Nyamadzawo: “Cattle population decreased marginally by 0.69 percent from 5 528 242 in 2016 to 5 489 720 in 2017.

“The national herd building exercise will enable families to increase household food, income and nutrition security through commercialisation of an integrated and sustainable smallholder livestock sector as enunciated by Zim-Asset.”

Mr Nyamadzawo said livestock, particularly cattle, were an integral part of the smallholder farming system in Zimbabwe and were important for provision of cash, draught power, meat, manure and milk. He said although livestock production was central to smallholder farmers’ activities, most of the communal herd was now comprised of small cattle breeds with low weights.

Zimbabwe

Work on Robert Mugabe University Begins

The government has begun the process of setting up the Robert Mugabe University with the University of Zimbabwe expected… Read more »

Kenya: Slight Relief for Sugar Users As Imports Hit the Shelves

By Gerald Andae

An increase in imports meant to tame the high cost of sugar has led to a decline in wholesale prices by 21 per cent. Retail charges have, however, only fallen marginally.

A 50 kilogramme bag of the sweetener now retails at Sh7,000 in Nairobi and Mombasa from a high of Sh8,900 last week, the sugar directorate says. Shelf prices have declined only slightly with a two kilogramme packet in some of the major supermarkets now retailing at Sh375 from Sh390 last week.

The Sugar Directorate says 9,000 tonnes of sugar have landed since last week as it moves to plug the deficit following a huge decline in local production.

“Distributors received 3,000 tonnes on Saturday and an additional 6,000 tonnes has been cleared at the Port of Mombasa,” said head of the directorate Solomon Odera.

Mr Odera said the directorate expects 100,000 tonnes of sugar between now and the end of July, saying this will drive down consumer prices. “These imports are meant to push down the price of sugar,” he said. Sugar production at the local mills has dropped to less than 3,000 tonnes in the last one month contributing to the current crisis.

Last week, supermarkets were hit by a severe shortage that left only one of the Tuskys outlets with the commodity. The directorate accused traders of hoarding the commodity of better prices.

Kenya produces 600,000 tonnes of sugar yearly and relies on Comesa imports to meet the growing demand that is at 900,000 tonnes. The country is, however, allowed to bring in 300,000 tonnes duty-free sugar every year from the trade bloc. The directorate is projecting a shortage of 1.9 million tonnes of sugarcane by the end of this financial year, which will further hurt supply in the market.

The regulator has blamed low production on a prolonged drought, which affected sugar growing zones.

Sugar production dropped by 16 per cent in February this year compared with the same period last year as raw material shortage took a toll on the quantities.

Kenya

I Want to Transform Lives Through Charming Snakes

Snakes hardly conjure up the image of making a living but for Haji Mwachambuli, 29, snake- charming has been his source… Read more »

Nigeria: Gaidam Wants NAFDAC to Curb Use of Chemicals in Preserving Harvests

Photo: The New Times

Coffee farming in Rwanda.

Gov. Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe on Tuesday urged the National Food Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to curb the use of dangerous chemicals as preservatives for harvests.

Gaidam made the call in Damaturu when Ms Yetunde Oni, Acting Director-General of NAFDAC, paid him a working visit.

The governor said the usage of dangerous chemicals to preserve crops constitutes threat to health hazards of the people of the state.

He expressed the readiness of his administration to partner with NAFDAC to check the proliferation of sub-standard and adulterated drugs in the state.

The acting director-general had earlier said NAFDAC would establish offices in the other two senatorial districts to regulate the sale and usage of chemicals and food across the state.

Oni said NAFDAC was organising a sensitisation campaign to enlighten the populace to contribute to the fight against fake and sub-standard drugs in the state.

“We are launching the sensitisation programme to give the people a sense of belonging and ownership of the fight against fake and sub-standard food and drugs in the state,” she said.

NAN

Nigeria

Why Rivers State Is Shutting Down 1,866 Schools – Commissioner

The Rivers State Commissioner for Education, Kaniye Ebeku, has said that government’s decision to close down 1,866… Read more »

Zimbabwe: Botswana Kills 68 Zim Cattle in Its ‘Shoot-to-Kill’ Policy

Photo: Anna Jefferys/IRIN

(file photo).

By Sukulwenkosi Dube

Botswana police have killed 68 head of cattle worth about $35 000 through its shoot-to-kill policy.

Villagers from Bulilima and Mangwe Districts have appealed to Government to re-engage Botswana authorities to ensure the policy is reversed.

Police national anti-stock theft co-ordinator Senior Assistant Commissioner Erasmus Makodza told villagers during an anti-stock theft campaign meeting last Friday that the policy was not being properly implemented as most cattle that were being shot were stolen from villager’s kraals.

He said 68 cattle all valued at $35 000 from Nswazi area in Bulilima District had been shot in Botswana from January to April this year.

Snr Asst Comm Makodza said last year a woman from the same area lost 42 cattle that were shot in Botswana after they were stolen from her kraal. “There is need to revisit this policy as it is affecting our national herd. Some of these cattle that are shot will be exhibits of stock theft cases and whenever we try to engage our Botswana authorities on this issue they refuse to entertain us.

“Eventually these culprits are not prosecuted even after being arrested because the evidence would have been destroyed. Villagers are being short-changed because they are only paid P100 as compensation for each beast lost,” he said.

Snr Asst Comm Makodza said there was need for the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development to lobby for the policy to be revised.

Villagers said there was a need to reverse the policy. “We were told that cattle that strayed into the neighbouring country will be shot, but the challenge we are facing is that our cattle are being stolen from our kraals by Botswana nationals. They drive our cattle into their country which are later impounded by authorities there and later killed.

“Six of my cattle were recently shot after they were stolen from our area. My cattle didn’t stray, but they were shot,” said Mrs Simangele Ndlovu from Mafeha Village.

Villagers threatened to take the law into their own hands if the matter is not resolved soon. Botswana nationals reportedly enter the country illegally and steal villager’s cattle at night.

They allegedly cut through the border fence to drive the cattle into their country. Botswana authorities have previously said they resorted to the policy because stray Zimbabwean cattle were affecting beef exports as the country had incidents of foot and mouth disease.

Home Affairs Deputy Minister, Obedingwa Mguni said efforts to re engage the neighbouring country over the policy had so far proved fruitless.

Zimbabwe

Work on Robert Mugabe University Begins

The government has begun the process of setting up the Robert Mugabe University with the University of Zimbabwe expected… Read more »

Zimbabwe: Agric, Mining to Drive Economic Growth – IMF

By Conrad Mwanawashe and Enacy Mapakame

The International Monetary Fund expects recovery in agriculture and mining to drive economic growth this year but warns that maintaining the growth momentum would require action to expedite plans to reduce Government deficit to a sustainable level.

But economists said growth will only come if Zimbabwe escalates value addition and beneficiation and development of the agro-based export sectors such as horticulture. “In agriculture, it is clear, whether it is Command Agriculture . . . we are likely to have more maize this year. But I do not see how this will invigorate growth, unless there is value addition and there is more manufacturing done,” University of Zimbabwe’s Professor Albert Makochekanwa said.

Although the IMF mission that was in the country early this month warned that excessive Government spending, if continued, could exacerbate the cash scarcity, further jeopardise the health of the external and financial sectors, and, ultimately, fuel inflation, it noted progress already achieved in other economic fronts through a number of initiatives such as support towards agriculture. The Bretton Woods Institution called for urgency in implementing reforms which include civil service and discretionary spending. “Building on the progress already achieved, the Government is encouraged to demonstrate that Zimbabwe is open for business.

“This will include enhancing efforts to tackle corruption, encouraging private sector investment, allowing the market to determine prices, promoting labour flexibility, and creating a stable legal and regulatory framework to reduce policy uncertainty. Moreover, there is room for enhancing domestic revenue mobilisation, boosting transparency in the mining sector, and improving governance in public enterprises to strengthen the country’s fiscal position,” IMF team leader Ana Lucía Coronel said in a statement.

“Spending pressures stem from high employment costs, government transfers to support specific economic sectors, and elevated discretionary expenditure. Action on these three fronts, while safeguarding social outlays, is therefore crucial. Reducing the wage bill could involve reviewing allowances and benefits and evaluating the size of the civil service with a view to eliminating non-essential posts. Reinforcing the Government’s efforts to curtail non-priority spending is also pressing,” she said.

Economists said while the issues that the IMF raised were pertinent, Government was already working on the issues and this showed that Government was in the right direction.

“The IMF report is reinforcing what Government is already doing but there is need for urgency in certain areas especially industry rejuvenation and rationalisation of staff costs. The gist of the report is that we are in the right direction but we need to do more and to make certain sacrifices as individuals and the country,” Africa University economist Thomas Masese said.

Commenting on calls by the IMF to stop excessive spending through staff rationalisation Mr Masese said it was understandable that Government was in a tough fiscal corner but still “unnecessary allowances such as annual bonus can be done away with”.

Furthermore, Mr Masese said restraint should be exercised on domestic borrowing as it is beginning to crowd out domestic investment and inflation is beginning to show its head. The IMF said the large fiscal imbalances are being financed by domestic borrowing since Zimbabwe is faced with a difficult external environment limiting access to foreign inflows.

The IMF team recommended taking action to unleash the potential of the private sector and ensure that growth benefits the most vulnerable segments of the population. “Restoration of confidence is essential for attracting the necessary dollar inflows to the economy. Refraining from central bank financing of the deficit and containing the issuance of debt and quasi-currency instruments is vital.

“Furthermore, the financial sector should restore its role of intermediating resources in the economy by channelling deposits to productive credit rather than financing fiscal operations,” the IMF said.

Zimbabwe

Work on Robert Mugabe University Begins

The government has begun the process of setting up the Robert Mugabe University with the University of Zimbabwe expected… Read more »

Zimbabwe: GMB Must Protect Farmers

editorial

The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) has been the buyer of choice for Zimbabwean farmers for decades, but developments in recent years have seen growers shunning the parastatal, opting to deal with private buyers.

It is, however, debatable whether farmers are benefiting from these private deals or they are being short-changed. The truth is GMB has a huge task to restore confidence among farmers, some of whom had abandoned growing cereal crops such as maize in favour of cash crops that offer instant cash on delivery.

The ball is now in the court of the new GMB boss, Mr Rockie Mutenha, to transform the parastatal so that it rises again to the challenges of grain storage and prompt payment to the producers.

On Tuesday we reported Government urging farmers and institutions that grew maize under the special maize import substitution programme (Command Agriculture) to register for a stop order facility with GMB.

There is a strong emphasis that those caught side-marketing will be blocked from participating or benefiting from future similar programmes.

This stop order system seeks to facilitate deductions for inputs received during the 2015-16 cropping season. You receive a loan and you have to pay back. This is a business culture that should be promoted among Zimbabweans, not a culture of abusing revolving facilities meant to benefit all farmers. We implore the new GMB chief to be unpopular among workers, GMB clients, among them politicians, and ensure the company plays its strategic role of storing and value adding the cereals for the benefit of the country.

The figure of 2,7 million tonnes of grain expected to be delivered is just a projection, over three million tonnes may be produced and the country must not suffer avoidable post-harvest losses due to lack of proper storage facilities. We urge the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development to ensure that all agro-related departments harness their efforts and ensure that not a single grain is lost.

Treasury should play ball by making sure that money to pay farmers is mobilised, even by floating bonds and Treasury bills so that growers who worked to produce bumper crops are adequately rewarded, and timely too.

In spite of threats by Government to deal with side-marketers, reports abound that dealers are already feasting on Command Agriculture produce, offering farmers as little as $180 cash per tonne compared to Government’s lucrative $390.

History has shown that no matter how eye catching the price may be, it rarely gets to the farmer on time, resulting in those cash squeezed letting go of their crop for a song.

Poor payment plans have a negative effect of dampening farmers’ spirits, resulting in some of them turning to cash crops. This must stop forthwith. Good pay schemes will naturally deal with the side-marketers. We challenge the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to tighten cash management so that unscrupulous businesspeople do not withdraw huge amounts of money they later use to buy maize from farmers.

They later deliver the maize to GMB and manipulate the systems and become the first to be paid at Government prices, thereby disadvantaging genuine producers.

The bumper harvest as a result of Command Agriculture is a litmus test that the GMB must pass because indications are that the country is likely to continue posting higher yields.

Zimbabwe is expecting a bumper harvest of 2,7 million tonnes of cereals, with 2,1 million tonnes expected to come from maize, while the remaining 600 000 tonnes will come from small grains such as pearl millet, finger millet, rapoko and sorghum.

GMB has 85 depots across the country and has established 1 882 collection points countrywide to enable farmers to reduce transport costs when delivering grain.

Farmers must make maximum use of these and shame detractors of the programme.

Uganda: Monitor Partners With aBi to Boost Agriculture

By Godfrey Lugaaju & Eseri Watsemwa

Kampala — Monitor Publications Limited (MPL) has partnered with Agricultural Business Initiative (aBi) in the forthcoming farm clinics to promote a competitive, private sector agribusiness development and enhance wealth creation in Uganda.

The partnership that was sealed yesterday at aBi premises saw aBi fund the Seeds of Gold campaign with Shs100m to support the execution of the farm clinics and the Climate Smart Symposium.

Under the theme ‘Climate smart farming’, the partnership will aim at providing practical information, knowledge, training and solutions for agribusiness through increasing awareness and enhance adaptation and mitigation against the impact of climate change.

Mr Andre Dellevoet, the Chief Executive Officer of aBi, said it is essential to counter some of the threats of agribusiness something Daily Monitor has been doing for the last four years in practical trainings dubbed ‘Seeds of Gold farm clinics’ which have tackled aspects to do with fish farming, goat rearing , pig production, poultry, and diary.

“Seeds of Gold is one of the key media initiatives in the country to make the agribusiness people aware of modern farming and specific topics within agribusiness that matter most to the sector,” he said, adding that aBi is seeing this as a very important platform to reach out to farmers across the country.

Ms Victoria Ssekitoleko, a board member of aBi, said it is important to underline the importance of information in agriculture as whatever we do agriculture will remain the backbone of Uganda.

“We are happy to see that programmes like Seeds of Gold are now on board and while we have done a bit, a few people know about it. We shall appreciate if we get timely information because apparently, if we had acted in time, may be information about the army worm would be going around Africa and not just Uganda. We shall generate information and will be relying on you to spread the information,” she said.

Mr Tonny Glencross, MPL’s Managing Director, said Monitor has been involved in farming with a weekly magazine Seeds of Gold which has also started airing on television as a programme.

“As much as we can educate farmers to take them to another level, we have different kinds like subsistence, commercial and we try to talk to all of them to grow the industry as it is a crucial sector of the economy,” he said, stating that this is the second time aBi is partnering with MPL with a difference of taking the farm clinic outside Kampala in the East, West and the North this time round.

“We are going to focus on beans, chillis, banana, diary, passion fruit, this time round and we have got agricultural experts from Mbarara and Makerere to train and educate communities to be substantially better,” he said.

Sarah Nalule MPL head of marketing for MPL, said they have also put in place a symposium where farmer groups and experts will make sure that information is disseminated in a friendly manner. “Based on the feedback we got from the farmers, they have challenges to do with climate change. A lot of information has been put together to help curb this but the agricultural sector at the grass root does not have this information or even when they receive the information it is not put in a format they can best hence coming up with the symposium to address this,” said Ms Nalule.

Mr Dellevoet said aBi is proud to be associated with the Seeds of Gold initiative as it is in line with aBi’s strategic objective of strengthening competitiveness of Uganda’s agricultural and agro-processing sectors, through provision of various interventions.

“This years’ farm clinics’ theme is in harmony with aBi’s Green Growth Strategy and the selected commodities such as; dairy, horticulture, maize and cereals, are among commodities that aBi supports through its value chain development interventions,” said Mr Dellevoet.

About aBi

It is a group of registered companies; aBi Trust and aBi Finance, is a multi-stake holder entity co-founded in July 2010 by governments of Uganda and Denmark. Its objective is to promote private sector agribusiness development to enhance wealth creation in Uganda.

Nigeria: Stallion Lauds Buhari’s Agric Agenda, Eyes Increased Rice Output

By Kingsley Jeremiah

Group Director, Stallion Popular farms & Mills, Hapreet Singh has said President Muhammadu Buhari’s agriculture policy aimed at driving down country’s yearly food imports, which stood at about $5 billion, is yielding meaningful result.

Speaking in Lagos after the company was declared “Agro Processor of the Year Award” at 2017 Nigeria Agriculture Awards, Singh said the organisation would increase rice output with its new milling facilities through structured farming techniques.

The country had launched a new agriculture policy seeking to earns more foreign exchange from agriculture, turn the sector to the mainstay of the nation’s economy and reverse huge food importation.

The award, which is its second, after the IBCA-“Outstanding Projects and Business Leaders of the Year Award” recently bestowed on the company in March was in recognition of Stallion Popular Farms & Mills Limited concerted efforts at integrating rice value chain as well as its dogged resolves to humanize farmed rice and self-sustainability in food production, he said.

“We owe this accomplishment to President Muhammadu Buhari’s leadership aptitudes and his agrarian-business agenda, Singh remarked.”

He said the farm is leveraging on the policy impetus of the Federal Government’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda to bring sustainable and scalable growth to farmers.

Singh added that the farm’s effort to increase cultivated rice yield began in 2007 and has since been at the forefront of paddy agronomists in the country, working tirelessly to enhance rice production through scientific agricultural practices.

Singh, while receiving the award, on behalf of the farm said it hopes to increase locally farmed rice to 1.5million tonnes yearly from 450, 000 metric tonnes.

He said the farm has already deployed enhanced milling activities and set up more milling facilities through structured farming techniques.

“Our vision has always been to preserve and enhance rice production in Nigeria by ensuring genetic integrity of seeds, encouraging scientific agricultural practices and promoting world-class processing techniques to emerge as industry benchmark for product quality,” Singh said.

Anambra State Honourable Commissioner for Agriculture, Afam Mbanefo who presented the award to the Farm applauded the farm for its commitment to government’s exhaustive agenda in rice production,

“You have not only supported the country’s agrarian objective for self-sufficiency in rice production but have also worked assiduously with local and state governments in ensuring food security.

Nigeria

After Buhari… ?

With the president on medical leave again, ambitious figures are positioning themselves favourably for what might happen… Read more »

Ethiopia: Efforts Towards Improving Sorghum Varieties

By Alazar Shiferaw

In Ethiopia, teff, wheat, maize, sorghum and barley are grown on nearly three quarters of the total arable plots of land. The production and productivity of these crops have shown increment due to the implementation of rigorous researches, provision of various inputs, and application of modern agricultural technologies among other things.

Recently, the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources held iMashilla final project meeting on which various papers were presented for discussion in Addis. Presenting his paper, ‘Screening Technologies for Grain and Injera Quality in the Ethiopian Breeding Programme’, Habte Nida from Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) said that to-date all of the information about the relationship between sorghum properties and Injera quality is based on experiments with limited numbers of samples.

He further said that only a small proportion of the genetic variation of sorghum has been evaluated since end-selection for Injera quality in breeding programmes product evaluation is labour intensive and time consuming.

The lack of cheap and high-through put screening methods means that end-product evaluation is only conducted on lines just prior to release and not during the main selection stages of the breeding process. As a result, very little progress is made for improving Injera quality and this causes considerable inefficiencies and loss of opportunity, he said.

The iMashilla project has targeted to produce high through put screening technologies for grain and Injera quality that could be implemented in the Ethiopian breeding programme.

Dr. Taye Tadesse, plant breeder, also said iMashilla project was considered to modernize sorghum research in the country. Specifically, it has been intended to improve and expand new sorghum varieties in rain limited areas of the country using improved technologies. This helps the nation to meet farmers’ need of research outputs within short period of time. The project has been implemented for 4 and half years. Early maturing sorghum varieties have a significant importance to resist the EI- Nino effect and climate, according to him.

He further said that the project has registered commendable achievements by shortening the maturing period of sorghum the researchers have used advanced technologies, testing design, statistical among other technologies. The new released varieties have been accepted by the farmers due to their resistance to drought and warm climate. And the demand of these varieties seed has increased from time to time by small-holder farmers in dry lowlands producing sorghum primarily for domestic consumption and biomass. The new varieties grow successfully in East and West Hararge, North Shoa, South and North Wollo, Raya-Alamata, North-west Tigrai and similar agro-ecologies in the southern region.

He added that the project was designed to increase the rate at which the EIAR sorghum breeding programme develops to release varieties for farmers in the dry lowlands, which accounts for more than 60 per cent of sorghum production in Ethiopia.

In January of this year, in his article, ‘Improved Sorghum Varieties for Better Livelihood’, Dr. Taye said, “Sorghum is considered as one of the potential crop to alleviate the challenges of recurrent drought in Ethiopia.”

Since the inception of sorghum research in Ethiopia, considerable achievements have been obtained in developing early maturing and drought resistant sorghum varieties and production managements practices nationally and regionally.

Currently, a total of 20 open pollinated varieties and four hybrids have been registered for production, targeting the dry lowland sorghum growing environments. The released varieties have a yield potential of 40 to 60 quintal per hectare, which are two to three fold higher from the national average yield.

However, there has been limited adoption rate of the improved varieties mainly due to lower biomass production of these varieties in comparison to the land races. In order to address the demand for food, feed and fuel, farmers predominantly prefer to grow the long maturing sorghum land races in the majority of dry lowland sorghum growing areas of the country, which requires more than seven months to reach maturity. Despite the crop failure around Mieso area occurred in the 2015/16 cropping season, the on-farm seed multiplication activity aiming to create access to farmers of the improved varieties accentuated the potential of the improved early types of sorghum varieties and moisture management practices to address food security problem of the area.

According to South African Journal of Plant and Soil, volume 33, 2016, sorghum is one of the most important cereal crops worldwide after wheat, rice, maize and barley. Examining the present socio-economic conditions of sorghum-producing farmers in different agro-ecologies in Ethiopia necessitates implementing strategies for improvement.

Zimbabwe: Why City of Harare Should Support Urban Agric

Photo: The Financial Gazette

Zimbabwe maize field (file photo).

By Nobleman Runyanga

Recently, a local weekly newspaper indicated that the City of Harare intended to charge maize seed companies for using open spaces in Harare as demonstration plots.

The local authority’s contention seemed to be that the companies were marketing their brands in the process since they erected signs advertising the seed varieties grown on the plots.

City fathers’ proposal has raised diverse views with some residents arguing that the proliferation of urban agriculture in their neighbourhoods has reduced the value of their properties, while others raise safety concerns citing increased muggings.

Yet, others contend that the green maize presented a breeding place for mosquitoes. All these arguments are valid, but the residents who raise them seem to forget that the problems which they raise have always been around.

Take for example the mosquitoes issue. The residents of Marlborough, Bluffhill and New Adylinn, among others, who live along Lomagundi Road will testify that the City of Harare only cuts grass once in March every year along that road and they have to contend with mosquitoes from November to February.

The unkempt grass also poses safety risks to residents in the same way that the maize demonstration plots are said to endanger residents’ lives.

The uncollected refuse in most Harare suburbs continues to reduce the quality of life and value of properties and the local authority seems unconcerned about this.

Despite all the disadvantages of urban agriculture, the demonstration plots help some families to feed themselves thereby ensuring food security against the background of an economy beset by various challenges.

The seed companies have been providing the farmers with inputs for the past three or so years in exchange for marketing their brands.

This has enabled farmers who could not afford the inputs to provide for their families. When they sought the City of Harare’s side of the story, its Spokesperson, Michael Chideme responded by urging those who wanted land to approach its offices.

This gave the impression that the seed houses were parcelling out pieces of land, which is not correct.

Urban agriculture has been a practice for as long as we can remember and all that the seed houses did was to approach farmers who demonstrated the ability to grow maize and equipped them with inputs and cut grass in front of demonstration plots so that they would look presentable.

Granted, the pieces of land which have become the subject of the arguments and counter-arguments belong to the local authority. But the City of Harare should not prioritise money at the expense of its residents.

What the seed companies are doing is marketing their brands using the demonstration plots as their signs are planted along major roads such as Harare Drive which command a lot of traffic. This constitutes unsanctioned advertising. It is, however, up to the City of Harare to approach the matter in a civil manner and avoid conveniently using concerns for residents’ safety to achieve its own ends.

Council should approach the seed houses and charge them agreed monthly fees for marketing their brands on the demonstration plots and not disrupt urban agriculture. This solution ensures that all parties concerns are taken care of. The same zeal with which the city authorities targeted seed houses should be demonstrated in pursuing other individuals and entities who are pasting various unsanctioned marketing materials on trees, street lamp poles and on roadside rocks and ensure that they pay for marketing their wares and services.

Featured Links

    Search Archive

    Search by Date
    Search by Category
    Search with Google
    Log in | Designed by Gabfire themes