president at show iran stand.jpgThe Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, President Robert Mugabe has commended farmers for working hard to produce for the nation, despite numerous challenges facing them.


President Mugabe was officially opening the 100th Edition of the Harare Agricultural Show at the Exhibition Park in Harare on Friday afternoon.    


He said he was impressed by the standard of exhibitions at this year’s show and also the confidence shown by the exhibitors. 


President Mugabe said the show is the mirror of the life expected of Zimbabweans.


“It will be recalled that we had a dry spell, in mid-December last year which continued into January this year and seriously affected crops in Masvingo, Matabeleland South and the southern parts of Manicaland Province. In several places the drought resulted in the complete write-off of crops. However, our people refused to give up hope,” said the President.


He said having successfully launched the land reform programme, the shift is now towards the productive use of the land.


He said: “As we celebrate the occasion of this 100th Zimbabwe Agricultural Show, we are challenged at the same time to consider seriously the situation of the farmer. With the success of our land reform programme and the shift now towards more productive use of the land, several questions need to be answered in order to strengthen our farmers.”


The President cited climate change as a phenomenon which can not be ignored as it affects agricultural production.


“Over the 2-3 years, events in the world have shown that climate change is a phenomenon we cannot afford to ignore any more.


This is a factor that is affecting our agricultural production as farmers. Government believes that top priority should be given to irrigation infrastructure rehabilitation and development in order to mitigate the impact of climate change,” he said.


Cde Mugabe said government will launch an irrigation master plan in phases which will cover one million hectares of irrigable land.


He also acknowledged the role of agricultural mechanization in increasing crop yields and reducing labour costs.


President Mugabe paid tribute to Iran and China who have remained steadfast in partnering Zimbabwe in agriculture.


Said the President: “In this regard we are delighted that the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad commissioned a tractor-manufacturing plant in Willowvale in April this year. Further, government is seeking opportunities under the Zimbabwe-China bilateral Agreement that will the country benefit from a US$342m worth of agricultural machinery.”


President Mugabe said as Zimbabweans celebrate the 100th anniversary of the show, they should seriously consider the plight of farmers who are faced with numerous challenges, including limited working capital due to non-availability of lines of credit and delay of payments, among others.


“As we now face the 2010-2011 season, it is my hope that all stakeholders will play their role in making the season a success.


“We need to overcome the perennial problem of failing to provide inputs on time and we also need to seriously address the limited the credit-lines from banks and agro-industries, plus the high cost of borrowing which often means limited working capital for farmers.


“Our farmers have increasingly felt abandoned, when after harvesting they find that the market and the producer prices on offer do not quite seem to acknowledge the hard work and high costs that precede crop production,” said President Mugabe.


President Mugabe also toured some of the stands at the Harare Agricultural Show.

He was accompanied by Zimbabwe Society President Dr Robby Mupawose and Chairman Mr Makonese as well as  Deputy Chairman Mr Looker and they went  around some  of the  stands to see some of the produce and products on display