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AGS aims to combat low investment in Agriculture sector

AGS aims to combat low investment in Agriculture sector

By Vannesa Mhizha

South African-based company Africa Grain and Seed company (AGS) has fully embraced President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Zimbabwe is open for business mantra by inviting investors to partner with Zimbabwe in the Agriculture sector.

AGS is an agro-based company which aims to broaden the growth trajectory of agriculture, mining and tourism.

Speaking at a recently held two day conference in Harare, AGS president Antony Denga said the company had taken key steps of bringing investors into Zimbabwe as a precursor to facilitating economic growth, up-skilling, and creating employment.

He said the partnership between Zimbabwe and its investors is going to play a pivotal role in articulating the problems of poverty alleviation, human progression, growth and opportunities in macro-micro economics and social policy.

He highlighted that it is time Africa invests on agriculture production through strategic partnerships.

Some of AGS’s strategic partners that graced the event include representatives from the Institute for Applied Alchemy, Kampay, Satsanga, Black Farmers Association of South Africa (BFASA), Stellenbosch University, Pathfinder Projects Africa (PTY).

As a step in the investment and partnership with Zimbabwe, Dr Lennox Xolile Mtshagi President of Black Farmers Association of South Africa said he, along with his associates, are ready to work with the Gwebi College for Agriculture in ensuring that the gaps in agriculture are closed.

“We want to work with the college together with the government of Zimbabwe to close the gaps that need to be closed,” he said.

“We want to make agriculture profitable for everyone with tangible returns at the same time giving land ownership to the blacks,” he added.

Matshagi further added that their coming into the picture would introduce processes and infrastructure which would see crops like tomatoes, potatoes, cabbage being sold dried rather than relying on fresh produce noting that dried crops can be exported to fetch more money.

“Selling dried crops is very profitable and you can utilize every crop without worrying about crops like tomatoes rotting,” he said.

He also said that he, along with his associates were ready to do business with the Gwebi College and help facilitate building of the necessary infrastructure to accommodate the programs they intend to introduce at the college.

“This program comes with expensive infrastructure which is going to be beneficial at this college and the rest of the country in the future, as soon as our proposals have been approved we are very prepared to proceed with programs,” he said.

Agriculture contributes approximately 17 percent to Zimbabwe’s GDP.

Meanwhile, AGS Vice President Zandile Matiwazadenga emphasised that Africa is not looking for donors but partnerships that bring investments towards agriculture.

“We are saying Africa is not looking for donors because donors will only cripple our potential. What we need are strategic partnerships with investors and we are ready to roll,” she said.

The Gwebi College for Agriculture is a government owned agriculture training institution which offers diplomas in agriculture and training farmers.

It was established in 1950. Agriculture is the backbone of Zimbabwe’s economy as Zimbabweans largely derive their livelihood from agriculture and other related economic activities.

Agricultural activities provide employment and income for 60-70 percent of the population, supplies 60 percent of the raw materials required by the industrial sector and contributes 40 percent of total export earnings.

General challenges facing smallholder farmers include low and erratic rainfall, low and declining soil fertility, low investment, poor physical and institutional infrastructure and recurring food insecurity.

AGS aims to combat low investment in Agriculture sector