ZCFU congress begins today

farmTHE Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Unions (ZCFU) 16th Annual congress will start today at Rainbow Towers. This years two day congress is being held under the theme: Enhancing Economic Vibrancy Through Building Confidence in Agriculture.

Speaking about the congress ZCFU president William Nyabonda said this years events comes more than a year after government announced the liberalisation of the countrys agricultural marketing.

We are optimistic that this years congress would lead to a successful 2010/11 agricultural season, he said

The congress would present an opportunity for farmers from different parts of the country to forward resolutions for the coming year as well as highlighting problems being faced and how they cane be solved, Mr Nyabonda said.

ZCFU Head of Information, Publications and Marketing Mr Blessing Mungure said the congress officially start today despite delegate having a welcome dinner last night.

This years guest of honour is Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement, Herbert Murerwa. Delegates from across the country will gather to deliberate on previous years activities and achievements and chart the way forward to consolidate the growth anticipated in the sector, Mr Mungure said.

This year agriculture is expected to by 18,8% from 14,9% achieved last year. This is mainly driven by tobacco, up 136,6 % from 55,6 million kgs in 2009 to an estimated 120 million kgs this year. Maize is expected to increase up 3% from 1,24 million tonnes to 1,33 million tonnes and beef up 2% from 93 000 tonnes to 95 000 tonnes

Horticulture production in 2010 is also projected to register growth, rising to 43 000 tonnes against last years 35 000 tonnes. There is still much more investment to be undertaken before production levels rise to levels above 60 000 tonnes experienced previously.

Depressed cotton prices and financing constraints in 2009 undermined cotton production which decreased from 246 000 tonnes in 2009 to 172 000 tonnes in 2010.

However, following interventions by Government and subsequent review by cotton merchants, the price for cotton increased to US45 cents per kg this year, up from US30 cents per kg in 2009.

Sugar production during 2010 is also projected to decline below last years levels. In 2009, sugar production was 286 000 tonnes. This year, an estimated 250 000 tonnes of sugar is anticipated

About 200 delegates are expected at this years congress, with each province bringing in 20 delegates. The balance will be taken up by ZCFU executive members and staff members.

ZCFU is a farmers union that has a membership of approximately 12 000 members. These range from small scale to large scale commercial farmers. Its mandate is to serve commercial farmers irrespective of the size of the farm.

Agricultural Production, Main Products (000 tons)

2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010

Tobacco 74 55 80 56 55 119

Maize 750 1 485 953 575 1 240 1,300

Beef 90 90 95 90 93 95

Cotton 198 260 235 226 247 172

Sugar 430 447 442 298 286 250

Horticulture 60 64 66 60 35 43

Source: Ministry of Agriculture

Post published in: Economy

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