PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa says government will continue to support agriculture but urged local farmers to increase their yields in order to supply industry with adequate raw materials for production.
Speaking at the ZNCC annual business review the president said agriculture was the mainstay of the Zimbabwean economy and more effort will be placed in mechanization of the sector to ensure production increased and supply of raw material was guaranteed.
According to the ministry of Industry and Commerce industry source 60% of their raw materials from the agriculture sector while 40% of manufacturing sector output is absorbed by agriculture.
Government supports farmers through a number of programmes such as the command agriculture and presidential inputs scheme and buys the produce at above market rates.
Despite this support from government average yield per hectare for most crops has continued to lag behind that of regional farmers.
The president said though government would continue supporting the command agriculture programme private sector players will now take a leading role in the programme to ensure greater transparency and efficiency.
He urged companies to promote value chain linkages in the agriculture sector through setting up of contract farming schemes.
Underutilization of land by farmers has seen the country battling to supply raw materials to industry for basic commodities such as cooking oil, flour, bread among a host other products.
During the week National Foods had threatened to shut down two of its wheat milling plant after failing to secure foreign currency to import wheat though the country has sufficient wheat capacity to meet demand for self raising flour.
Farmers have attributed the low production levels to a plethora of reasons among them unavailability of affordable funding, expensive inputs, unavailability of markets, climate change and poor irrigation facilities.
The President said government was working on removing archaic laws that may dissuade investors from investing in the agriculture sector.
He said the ministry of agriculture was working on a number of policies such as the agribusiness policy, horticulture and export market policy.