By Kenias Chivuzhe
THE transformation of the Department of Agritex to the Agricultural Advisory and Rural Development Services Directorate is expected to improve agricultural productivity across the country.
Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development officials have converged in Nyanga for a 5-day workshop to streamline operations and targets for the new entity, where, in an interview on the sidelines of the workshop, the Director of the Agricultural Advisory and Rural Development Services Directorate, Professor Obert Jiri outlined the scope of the new department and its focus on increasing agricultural productivity.
“This workshop is to consolidate the formation implementation of the agricultural advisory and rural development services directorate. This directorate which was formally named Agritex is now responsible for five major departments which are crop production, livestock production, fisheries and aquatic resources develop, training and information services development and migratory pests and bio security control department. The new departments will transform agriculture in the country.
“The fisheries and aquatic resources department is set to bring out the fisheries potential in the country. This will result in the development of production of fish in all water bodies. The bio security and migratory pest department is expected to enhance the production of traditional grains by fighting pests such as quelea birds and fall army warm among others. We have increased surveillance capacity to be able to map all the breeding sites of birds and we also increased capacity in terms of drones in order to monitor pests. The training and information services department will focus on packaging information for farmer consumption,” said Professor Jiri.
The new department’s acting directors in the provinces are convinced that the rebranding will improve agricultural productivity and address challenges affecting the industry.
“Matabeleland South is very conducive for fish production. The department will assist farmers to get knowledge and link them to the markets. Efforts to control migratory pests will be well coordinated,” said Matabeleland South Acting Director Agricultural Advisory and Rural Development Services, Mkhunjulelwa Ndlovu.
“In Manicaland we have almost 1184 fish points and we also have big dams that can be stocked with fish. We also need to train farmers to ramp up production. The department of migratory pastes will answer the challenge on quelea birds and other pests,” said Manicaland Acting Director Agricultural Advisory and Rural Development Services, Philippa Rwambiwa.
“The transformation is going to provide very useful answers to the challenge of fall army warm. The fisheries department will ensure farmers are knowledgeable on fish farming,” said Leonard Munamati, Mashonaland East Acting Director Agricultural Advisory and Rural Development Services.
Meanwhile, participants were implored to develop strategies that improve uptake of information communication technologies and ensure farmers embrace climate change mitigation measures.