Masisi calls for increased cooperation in agric between Zim and Bots

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Harare (New Ziana) – Zimbabwe and Botswana should leverage on each other’s strengths to step up cooperation in the agricultural sector, President Mokgweetsi Masisi said on Friday.

He said this while officially opening the 112th edition of the Harare agricultural show.

President Masisi said this was important not only because of the common border between the two countries, but also due to the increasing threat of trans-boundary animal and crop diseases and pests, particularly foot and mouth disease (FMD), qualia birds and locust infestation.

“Our two countries have also had to collaborate in addressing emerging threats like the goat plaque, which if not controlled had the potential to cripple our agricultural industries, hamper national development agenda, condemn our peoples to cyclical poverty by reversing developmental gains that we continue to safeguard today.

“Another reason it is important for me and my entourage to be here today is the fact that the agricultural sectors of our countries are intertwined, with communities along our common border sharing not only familial ties, but ways and means of livelihoods, such as livestock rearing, amongst others,” he said.

“As such, I found it imperative that I avail myself to be part of this event, so as to facilitate exchange of views and experience in the agricultural space, for the mutual benefit of our countries and peoples. I have no doubt that we can leverage on each other’s strengths in areas that we enjoy a comparative and competitive advantage in the agriculture space, with a view to further deepening collaborative efforts in this area.

“One such dominant niche area is the production of a number of livestock vaccines, which my country is already undertaking for a number of vaccines and supplying Zimbabwe and, indeed, the region and beyond. In this regard, our two countries can leverage on each other’s strengths for the production of high-quality vaccines for FMD, goat plague and the lung disease in Botswana, as well as Zimbabwe’s prowess in the production of thermostable Newcastle vaccine and other quality veterinary medicinal products.”

President Masisi said his country was also benefiting from the high-quality veterinary surgeons and specialists, some of whom were serving in Botswana.

“We continue to have a strong vote of confidence in the services that we receive from the experts who have been trained in your country,” he said.

President Masisi expressed admiration of Zimbabwe’s potential and strength in crop production.

He said, while 2021, Botswana experienced a generally moderate drought, which negatively affected agricultural output, Zimbabwe, on the other hand recorded a bumper harvest.

“I am pleased to note that the Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board and the Zimbabwe Grain Marketing Board, have recently engaged and are in discussions for cooperating in the management of strategic grain reserves and the possibility of Botswana importing grains from Zimbabwe,” he said.

Going forward, he said it was important for both countries, which face immense challenges including climate change, to utilise ICTs to improve agricultural practices.

“The importance of digitizing agriculture and improving general productivity capacity cannot be over-emphasized. The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, have exposed weaknesses and gaps in our production and supply chains, particularly on the African continent,” he said.

Earlier, President Masisi who is in Zimbabwe on a three-day state visit toured several exhibition stands at the agricultural show along with President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

He had started the day with a tour of the National Heroes Acre.
New Ziana

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