Britain is looking at formalising and boosting its trade relations with Zimbabwe once it leaves the European Union.
This was said by the British ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mrs Melanie Robinson after paying a courtesy call on Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda this morning.
“The Honourable Speaker and I had a good discussion this morning and the first thing we discussed was the continuation of trade between the UK and Zimbabwe.
“We have excellent trade relationships at the moment over US$400 million of trade in goods from Zimbabwe go to the UK and just recently I was in the Eastern Highlands looking at one of the tea estates of which 95 percent of that tea goes to London and we were talking about ratifying our agreement to continue that trade so that the UK and Zimbabwe can continue the same level of trade after the UK has left the European Union so I was assured by the Speaker that that process is underway,” Mrs Robinson said.
Meanwhile; hundreds of villagers in Gokwe North now have thriving community gardens, courtesy of an UKaid programme being implemented by Caritas Gokwe with the support of the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (Cafod).
Beneficiaries and their livestock faced hunger due to recurrent drought in the area and used to walk several kilometres in search of water.
With the help of the non-government organisations and UKaid, villagers were now into irrigation utilising water from Vimbe Dam while focussing on production of maize, beans and bananas, among other crops.
“We have three community gardens, one with 130 members, another has 140 and the third has 203 members surrounding this dam and Caritas assisted with fences,” Innocent Muvaka, the project patron.
The nearby clinic and local schools as well as hundreds of other villagers in nearby three wards were also benefitting from the dam and irrigation schemes.
The dam was first constructed in 1992 but several challenges were encountered until the intervention of Caritas and Cafod in 2016.
“Since then, we never had a problem with water and our lives have changed completely,” Muvaka said.
The project is working on climate resilience by increasing nutrition-sensitive agriculture. Project monitoring and evaluation officer, Admire Dube said at least three wards were benefitting from the initiative.
“We also have solar panels to aid in so many ways here. A lot of people come to buy different crops like vegetables,” he said.
One of the beneficiaries Florence Musiiwa said: “We have been helped by these organisations to plant nutritional crops and we end up selling some to buy basics, pay school fees and buy underwear for the girls. There are some things you cannot ask their fathers to buy for them and now, thanks to the help, we get the money to buy.”
The programme is helping more than 130 000 people in Zimbabwe and stretches to remote areas including Uzumba, Maramba, Pfungwe, Gokwe North and South.