Captains of Industry held a breakfast meeting on Wednesday, 1 December 2010 with Vice President Mujuru, at which function they called for improved dialogue between Government and Business. The business leaders, numbering over 50, held an open and frank discussion informal meeting with the Vice President and urged Government to consult widely before announcing key policy decisions as some may have a negative impact on business operations or scare away investors. The business sector also raised issues related to the timing of elections; implementation of the indigenization programme; access to public officials; relationship between the private sector and public sector; the need for serious re-engagement with the West on removal of sanctions and access to lines of credit; corruption in both the private and public sector; and corporate governance issues. There was consensus that further informal meetings need to be held between the two sectors.
Chimanimani district of Manicaland province has a long stretch of land situated between two mountain ranges that provide water through out the year. This piece of land is called Cashel Valley.For years water flowed down the mountains into Umvumvumvu River meandering its way to the Indian Ocean without being put to commercial use.
At best the local community made use of this natural resource by watering tomatoes and vegetables marketed locally and furthest in Mutare. However, this type of market gardening failed to uplift the standard of living of the local community as their income remained meagre partly due to underutilisation of land and lack of lucrative markets.On one of her provincial visits, where she meets the local community and its leadership, the Vice President Hon J.T.R. Mujuru got wind of the great potential of Cashel Valley.
This marked the turning point on the way of life in Cashel Valley.At this point in time the corporate world had started responding positively by coming forward and complementing the Vice President’s cause. As fate would have it, Trans-Zambezi Industries (TZI) accepted the challenge to add life and transform the part-time market gardening into a full time horticulture business venture with an export market In August 2006, TZI moved into Cashel Valley, which was last commercially used some 28 years ago, and started horticulture with 25 farmers. Targeted crops were baby-corn, peas, butternuts, fine beans and gooseberries among others.
Just three months later, in November 2006, the company had started exporting produce to South Africa and Europe. The TZI-small holder horticulture growers’ project was officially launched by the Vice President on 26th November 2006. The partnership between TZI and the farmers was geared towards empowering small scale farmers and enabling them to access the lucrative export market.These recently resettled beneficiaries of the agrarian reforms in Zimbabwe were requested to initially focus on 0.1 ha.
Little did this local community know that such a small patch of land suffices to produce miracles.A key success factor in this project has been the focus on quick maturing crops, such as peas that can be harvested 50 days from date of planting.
Further, farmers were assisted with inputs, fertilisers and pesticides to kick start the project Ever since August 2006, the project has been taking on at least 5 additional farmers every week into the scheme. Today the project boasts of 500 farmers working over 150 ha of land under flood irrigation
Ever since August 2006, the project has been taking on at least 5 additional farmers every week into the scheme. Today the project boasts of 500 farmers working over 150 ha of land under flood irrigation.The farmers could not hide their joy when speaking about this project that empowered them in a short period of time.
From here, it is envisaged that similar projects can be undertaken in other provinces as a way of consolidatingthe land reform programme, arresting the current economic decline, improving the standard of living of thosein rural areas while also enhancing the economy’s foreign currency earnings.
The importance of this project is not just about its scale, growth rate or foreign currency generation capacity, but its strength as a testimony of what is feasible and can be replicated by others elsewhere. As such co-operation and partnership between the corporate world and farmers is strategic and critical in giving new life to agricultural activities in the economy.
Vice President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Hon Joice T.R. Mujuru, who was the guest of honour at the ICT Africa Exhibition and Conference officially opened the event on the 6th of October. The event, which was held at the Harare International Conference Centre from 5-7 October 2011, was hosted by the Ministry of Information Communication Technology. Participants included senior government officials, captains of the ICT industry, exhibitors, teachers and students as well as other key stakeholders.
Following a tour of the exhibition stands, the Vice President in her address, lauded programmes being implemented by the ICT Ministry among them ICT laboratories in schools, Community Information Centers (CICs) in all the ten provinces, training for civil servants and support to infrastructure development.
She noted that the programme to equip primary and secondary schools, with computers that have appropriate software for e-learning and internet connectivity, which the ICT Ministry is working on in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture, complements His Excellency the President’s Schools Computerisation Programme. The Vice President commended ICT key players for developments in the sector, chief among which being the ICT penetration rate at 63.4% for mobile, 15% internet and 3% fixed telephony.
She noted that rural communities which for a long time had been marginalized, as far as ICT is concerned, now had mobile phone services and access to the internet in some areas. While urging Zimbabweans to leverage on the country’s high literacy level to exploit the potential offered by ICTs for national development, she also called upon all ICT practitioners and professionals to desist from adopting the negative aspects of technologies.
Having noted the pivotal role communications infrastructure plays in ICT development and utilization, the Vice President pointed out that government had facilitated the establishment of optic fibre networks and connectivity to undersea cables had been achieved. Government would continue to work towards providing a conducive environment for ICT development and utilization.
To this end, duty on ICT hardware and software had been removed. In her concluding remarks, Hon Joice Mujuru noted that the Ministry of ICT in conjunction with key stakeholders would soon review the National ICT Policy Framework which was launched by His Excellency the President in 2007 and called for everyone’s input and support in this endeavor.
A business delegation from China’s Guizhou Province called on the Vice President Hon J.T.R. Mujuru on the 3rd of October 2011 and was met by Hon S. Nguni, Minister of State in the Office of the Vice President.
The delegation from China comprised representatives from tobacco and cigarette sector, mining sector, infrastructure development sector as well as the Integrated Investment Company of Guizhou Province. The meeting followed fruitful discussions the delegation had had with the Ministry of Agriculture.
A Memorandum Of Understanding may eventually be signed pursuant to the visit. Potential for cooperation in mining was identified. The delegation is also pursuing investment opportunities in the railways. Hon Minister Nguni noted that there was a great deal of potential for increasing production in the tobacco sector but this required farmers to be accorded greater support.
He thus expressed hope for cooperation between Zimbabwe and Guizhou Province, not only in agriculture, but the other sectors of interest to the delegation for the mutual benefit of both countries.
Vice President Joice T.R. Mujuru has paid tribute to her staff and Zimbabweans within and outside who advise her in all spheres of life, following her nomination by Forbes (Africa) Magazine (October 2011) as the number five most powerful woman in Africa.
In a brief interview with journalists in her Office, Hon. Mujuru dedicated the nomination to her late husband, General Solomon T. Mujuru, for his support throughout her career, and to her daughters and grand children, for their continued support after the passing on of the General. She paid special tribute to all freedom fighters who died in neighbouring states, and in Zimbabwe, during the liberation struggle for their courage and determination to liberate Zimbabwe, without which, she noted that, she may not have risen to her current level.
Hon. Joice Mujuru who left Howard Institute while doing Form 2 in 1973, thanked His Excellency, President, R.G. Mugabe for encouraging her to resume her secondary education when she was already a Cabinet minister. She has since completed her Masters Degree in Strategic Management and is currently studying towards a doctorate degree.
The Vice President noted that the real impact of her nomination will be the benefits that will or have already accrued to the ordinary Zimbabweans throughout the country from the various empowerment programmes she has initiated. She pointed out that the fact that the world has acknowledged her determination to improve the quality of life of ordinary Zimbabweans through such programmes like Unhu Kumhuri/Family Dignity, will spur her on.
Vice President Joice Mujuru has been promoting income-generating projects like horticulture, piggery, poultry, cattle improvement programme through artificial insemination, among others.
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