ZIMBABWE is set to partner the Food and Agriculture Organisation under a cooperation framework that is set to revolutionise the country’s agriculture sector as Harare pushes to restore its breadbasket status in the Southern African Development Community region.
With more than 12 high impact dams for irrigation across the country, some of them with hydro power, coupled with several intervention policies such as climate proofed agriculture (Pfumvudza/Intwasa), partnering international organisations such as FAO will give impetus to the country’s national objectives of not only feeding itself but the region and beyond.
President Mnangagwa met FAO director-general Mr Qu Dongyu in Italy on Tuesday after attending the Italy-Africa Summit that drew leaders from the African continent and Europe.
The two, who met at FAO head offices, discussed how Zimbabwe could be assisted to modernise its agriculture by utilising its water infrastructure that includes dams.
In an interview with Zimbabwean journalists, President Mnangagwa, who returned home last night, said Zimbabwe was geared to restore its breadbasket status.
He said it was critical that Zimbabwe partnered with international organisations such as FAO that have equally acknowledged the agricultural potential of the country.
“Zimbabwe is regarded as breadbasket of our region and I think it is critically important that FAO has a relationship with us and us with FAO so that we can be assisted to continue to modernise our agriculture and make sure we are food secure not only as a country but as a region. So the focus is that we are food secure in the region,” said President Mnangagwa.
Addressing world leaders during the summit on Monday, President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe continued to make notable milestones towards achieving food security and outlined several measures that his Government had taken.
He told the leaders who included the host, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, that his Government had invested more than US$2 billion since 2020 in developing water infrastructure such as dams, reservoirs and irrigation development as part of deliberate measures to attain food security.
On energy, President Mnangagwa said it was critical to have key enablers for the development of the economy that include energy.
It was on that basis, he said, that he met investors from Italy who pledged to establish a 100-Megawatt solar energy plant near Gweru as Zimbabwe pushes for energy sufficiency.
“I am sure you are aware that every developed country must have one of the primary enablers of development, that is energy and we are not an exception, so we need to dialogue around the development of energy,” said the President.
Turning to the Italy-Africa Summit, President Mnangagwa noted that European countries were realising how important Africa is, hence Western countries were pushing for partnerships with the continent.
“What is happening is that every serious European country wants to have a relationship with Africa. We have the France-Africa Summit,, Italy-Africa Summit, Germany-Africa Summit, perhaps Spain, so for some reason Africa has just become important to Europe and we are not angry about that, we have always been important to them.”
He said the meetings including the Italy-Africa Summit were not about an individual African country but a collective union that should benefit the continent as a whole.
“It’s not really about a particular country. It’s collective. It’s Italy-Africa Summit, France-Africa Summit and so on, so Africa as a collective entity develops these relationships with developed countries,” said President Mnangagwa.
There has been a growing desire by various developed countries to forge alliances with Africa through holding conferences with leaders of the African continent.
During the Italy-Africa Summit, Prime Minister Melon unveiled a strategic partnership with Africa that will see cooperation mainly focusing on energy.
Other areas that she said Italy would work with Africa include education, training, research and agriculture. – Herald