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Value addition expected to propel rural industrialisation

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Story by Providence Maraneli

Communal farmers who have taken heed of government’s call to grow drought resistant crops like sunflowers are now focusing on value addition to propel rural industrialisation.

Mr Stephen Mchangane’s sunflower crop is ready for the market.

He is one of the communal farmers in Mpalawani area of Insiza, Matabeleland South Province who received sunflower seeds from government to boost the country’s oil seeds reserve.

His challenge is that the nearest Grain Marketing Board depot is 60 kilometres away in Zvishavane.

“We have heard the minister of agriculture say that they import oil from other countries but we can’t sit in our laurels while the government is calling us to grow sunflowers,” he said.

“With the support that we got we have more than two hectares of sunflower that is ready for the market,” he added.

“We have harvested more than two tonnes of sunflowers already and we are going to take it to GMB and we are able to pay our children’s fees,” his wife said.

With the government having embarked on the rural industrialisation drive, value addition of cash crops like sunflowers has been cited as critical.

“I heard you saying that who you came here you had nothing, now that your lives have been transformed through farming, I urge you to venture into small scale value addition of this crop and this is how factories and industries start,” noted Agritex Chief Director, Professor Obert Jiri.

“You may start with just a small machine and grow from there,” Jiri went on.

The government has rolled out various programmes such as the presidential rural horticulture scheme, poultry, and goat schemes to steer rural industrialisation.