THE National Economic Consultative Forum (NECF) and Zimbabwe Agricultural Show Society (ZAS) will co-host the inaugural agro-business dialogue on the sidelines of the Harare Agricultural Show next week which seeks to formulate ways of increasing agricultural output.
The national dialogue, which will be held on August 22 under the theme Leveraging agricultural opportunities for economic growth, comes at a time when mining has overtaken agriculture as the mainstay of the economy.
Agricultural sub-sectors, save for tobacco, have since the onset of the land reform programme been underperforming due to underfunding, among other factors.
In a statement issued last week, ZAS said the purpose of the dialogue was to bring together leading professionals in the agriculture and agro-processing business sectors to a roundtable with a view to coming up with strategies on how the sector could play a pivotal role on the economic rebound.
“Restoration of the breadbasket status of Zimbabwe in the region would be a key concern at the dialogue. The outcome of the dialogue would be input into the country’s policy formulation process,” ZAS said in the statement.
ZAS said the objectives of the national dialogue was to review the agricultural sector in Zimbabwe, enunciate the role of agriculture in poverty alleviation, review challenges confronting the sector and recommend long-lasting solutions to come up with policy advisory notes for government.
Over 400 delegates from government, agriculture sector, agro-processing sector, agro-input suppliers, research institutions and agricultural colleges, financial institutions, international cooperating partners in the agriculture sector are expected to attend.
Vice-President Joice Mujuru is scheduled to officially open the national dialogue and other keynote speakers lined up include officials from the Agriculture and Health ministries, Zimbabwe Investment Authority chairman Nigel Chanakira, the World Bank and Food and Agriculture Organisation.