Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) is crafting strategies to restore vibrancy in its 22 estates dotted around the country to enhance food security.
In a bid to improve productivity in the firm’s 22 estates, ARDA is crafting strategies that will boost viability which was eroded by illegal economic sanctions imposed on the country by western nations which resulted in productivity dwindling to unprecedented levels.
Speaking to ZBC News during a tour of one of its farms near Harare, ARDA board chairman, Mr. Basil Nyabadza said a lot has happened to transform the estates which have been playing a critical role towards boosting the country’s food reserves by ensuring that they operate viably.
“We are working closely with our partners to ensure that the estates become viable as the firm is relying more on its coffers since government stopped to assist the entity long back. We are hopeful that major positive results will be realized in the next few years,” Mr Nyabadza said.
ARDA Nijo’s estate manager, Mr. Thomas Nyagwande said measures put in place are already yielding results as the estate has embarked on maize seed production on the over 1 000 hectares farm, an indication that the estate can sustain its operations.
“We are managing to sustain our operations with extensive farming activities that range from horticulture to dairy on this piece of land and we have liberalized our marketing model,” said Mr Nyagwande.
ARDA is currently heavily undercapitalized which has also affected its exports.
At its peak, the firm contributed 30% of the country’s wheat needs and was able to meet the nation’s food requirements with several vibrant estates such as Middle Sabi, Chisumbanje and Sanyati among others.