Farmers lament transport costs

Rural district councils should prioritise the servicing of rural road networks if farmers are to realise meaningful returns from their agricultural activities, said the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union President.

Rural development is lagging behind countrywide due to failure by the government, through various RDCs, to improve road networks. According to the latest African Development Bank Group report entitled, “Infrastructure and Growth in Zimbabwe: An action plan for sustained strong economic growth”, infrastructure is a key component of the investment climate by reducing the costs of doing business and enabling people to access markets.

“Investment in infrastructure is critical to advances in agriculture and fundamental to human development, including the delivery of health and education services to poor people,” states the report.

In an interview with ***The Zimbabwean, ZCFU President, Wonder Chabikwa, said RDCs should prioritise the creation and repair of good road networks.

“RDCs should fulfil their mandate and ensure that they service the roads in their respective rural constituencies. The current state of most roads in the country is pathetic and this is having a negative impact on the agricultural activities of farmers,” said Chabikwa.

He urged RDCs to concentrate on their mandate instead of prioritising “getting money from farmers and attaching farmers’ properties”.

Communities whose livelihood thrives on agriculture in Mashonaland East said poor road networks were affecting the viability of their business ventures.

Andrew Zitsenga (22) from Ward 4 under Village Head Dzapasi in Goso, Murehwa said because Murehwa North was characterised by poor road networks, his project was not as vibrant as it should be.

He said poor road networks were affecting the viability of his project because his operational area was not accessible to customers in the rainy season.

“Our plea is that government should improve the road network to enable us to realise maximum benefit from our business ventures,” he said.

Florence Mbungo from Zaranyika Village in Ward 5 said besides being overcharged by the commuters, farmers who rely on selling their produce at Murehwa Centre failed to transport their produce on time.

“Murehwa Centre is the major market and because the road networks are poorly connected, there are times when our produce rotted after failure to get transport on time,” she said.

Murehwa North Member of Parliament said poor road networks were a countrywide problem.

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