Zimbabwe and Mozambique should work closely together to boost agricultural production in the two countries and in the process improve the lives of the ordinary people, a senior Mozambican official said Friday.
Manica Province Governor, Alberto Mondhlane, who officially opened the 2015 edition of the Manicaland Agricultural Show in Mutare, said the two countries share a rich history and heritage that should push them towards enhancing trade relations with authorities being urged to make it easier for their citizens to move across the border without hindrance to enhance development.
Mondhlane said his country is prepared to work with Zimbabwe in their bid to improve the agricultural sector in the two countries.
“Another area of partnership that we can work on; as we have seen today that our governments facilitate the trade between the two provinces, is to facilitate in the area of agriculture, the production of apples, bananas and other products,” he said.
He said since Zimbabweans and Mozambicans near the border share the same culture and normally mingle at will, there is need to relax entry and exit regulations at border posts.
“We should create conditions for our people in order to have official cross points in Katiyo, Honde and many more in order to provide securoity and allow the facilitation of crossing borders,” said Mondhlane.
He praised President Robert Mugabe’s disputed and controversial land reform programme that sought to give land to landless black Zimbabweans, stressing that the initiative should be fully implemented to avert hunger in Zimbabwe.
Addressing the same event, Agriculture Deputy Minister responsible for Livestock Production, Paddy Zhanda, urged communal farmers to produce adequate maize grain to feed the nation as they used to before the land seizures.
“We can still produce enough maize for ourselves,” he said. “Manicaland represents a big opportunity for both dairy farming and horticulture exports. And we have already seen the potential in dairy farming particularly in Chipinge and surrounding areas.”
Manicaland provincial affairs Minister Mandi Chimene, who also addressed the event, said she felt honored to host her Mozambican counterpart, noting that they would consider holding joint farming expos with the province of Manica, Mozambique.
The Manicaland Agricultural Show Society vice president, Peter Dopropoulous, said this year’s show had improved with more than 100 exhibitors compared past years where less than 70 firms and individuals participated at the event.
He said the 2015 show was unique in the sense that the livestock section was back in full force after being absent for a decade.
Some exhibitors told Studio 7 business was slow when the show kicked off Thursday. One of them, Tinashe Chinzvende, a micro finance exhibitor, said his stand is still recording few business deals and visits.
“A number of people are visiting our stand in response to the posters we put up around. I have noticed that people are showing interest but some are here to do their business also,” said Chinzvende.
Another exhibitor, Faustina Tichawangana of the Catholic University of Zimbabwe, said he is happy with the visits at her stands and is hopeful business will pick up Saturday.
“Yesterday it was very low but today it has really improved. And we are expecting things to continue improving,” said Tichawangana.
A variety of activities are lined up at the show such as horse riding, tug of war, sky diving, fireworks, and dog drills, among others.
The show ends Sunday.