By Talent Chimutambgi and Tanyaradzwa Mutizwa
China is committed to render necessary support to Zimbabwe in reinforcing robust economic development in a sustainable manner and enable the country to retain its breadbasket status in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by 2030, a Chinese official has said.
Addressing farmers and stakeholders in wheat production at a wheat field day organised by China Aid in collaboration with the Department of Research and Specialist Services (DR&SS) at Gwebi Agricultural College in Mashonaland West on Thursday, a representative from the Chinese Consulate, Mr Li Jianqiao, said his country was determined to embrace agricultural activities in Zimbabwe through training to promote economic renaissance and ensure that the country meets its SDG goal of zero hunger.
“Our Chinese government will continue supporting all agricultural activities in Zimbabwe so as to ensure that the country retains its breadbasket status in Southern Africa. This will promote economic growth in a sustainable manner since agriculture has the potential to rapidly transform the fortunes of Zimbabwe.”
China has partnered the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement under the China-Africa Forum and the Belt and Road Initiative under which the Chinese government dispatched four groups of experts consisting of agronomists, horticulturalists, aquatic and livestock experts to train local farmers and equip them with the necessary knowhow to boost agriculture productivity.
Mr Li underscored the need to develop new approaches and methods to adapt to the current climatic changes which have seen most parts of the country currently receiving normal to below normal rainfall.
“With the reality of unfavourable climate change, suitable approaches and methods for adapting to it need to be consistently explored. Tapping on to crop cultivation technologies from other countries is one such method. I am sure in today’s demonstration quite a few of the wheat production technologies from China have proven to be quite adaptable to Zimbabwe. I am sure also that the technology of rolling, which is common in China, will be found to enhance wheat productivity in the country,” he said.
China Aid Technology Demonstration Centre (CATDC) director Mr Li Wei Wei said his team will continue to churn out people with expertise who are capable of implementing the necessary knowhow in the agriculture sector.
“Our team is moving around agricultural training institutions giving training to students who are into various studies relating to agriculture to ensure that we produce people with requisite skills that can transform the country,” said Mr Li.
Head of the Agronomy Research Institute at DR&SS Mrs Mazvita Chiduwu said Zimbabwe and China cooperated on many fronts to generate research-based technologies that enhance crop productivity.
“DR&SS and China Aid cooperation is designed to generate research-based technologies, information and product support for increasing crop productivity and production. We are here to help farmers improve their productivity and we appreciate the assistance from China Aid and look forward to continued collaborations between our two countries,” said Mrs Chiduwu.
China Aid agronomist Mr Wu Weijun said he was expected to recruit more agricultural students by year end.
“We are expecting to train 500 agricultural students in eight agricultural colleges nationwide before the end of this year.”
Mr Wu said he was expecting an average of six to eight tonnes of wheat per hectare in their research field.
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