Minister Shiri says resettled farmers are not failures

By ZBC Reporter
THE Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, Retired Air Chief Marshal Perrance Shiri has dismissed claims by some quarters that the country’s resettled farmers are failing to live up to expectation following the land reform programme.
In an interview on ZBC Classc263’s Morning Grill Radio programme, the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, Retired Air Chief Marshal Shiri said local farmers are grappling with numerous challenges that former white settlers did not encounter.
He came out in full support of resettled Zimbabwean farmers saying they can feed the nation despite challenges being experienced across the country due to climate change.
“Let’s look at this issue in its correct perspective. It’s not like our people are lazy. The main challenge we are facing is, firstly, the unfavourable climatic conditions over the last season. Secondly, it’s because of poor financing by financial institutions. I am happy to say we are beginning to see some positive signs from financial institutions. This season we have had CBZ and Standard Banks coming on board. We hope other banks will also come on board and also start supporting the farmers,” he said.
Minister Shiri also spoke of the importance of improving agronomic practices such as water harvesting and promoting smart farming.
Smart farming is a management concept focused on providing the agricultural industry with the infrastructure to leverage advanced technology — including big data, the cloud and the Internet of things (IoT) — for tracking, monitoring, automating and analysing operations.
Smart farming also known as precision agriculture according to IoT Agenda, an online blogging site is growing in importance due to the combination of the expanding global population, the increasing demand for higher crop yield, the need to use natural resources efficiently, the rising use and sophistication of information and communication technology and the increasing need for climate-smart agriculture.