Post-harvest loses cost Zimbabwe 35% of food
By Edward Mukaro
ZIMBABWE loses up to 35 percent of its food production, through food waste and post-harvest storage spoilage, Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural resettlement, Dr Anxious Masuka has said.
The nation is experiencing a rapid population growth and rapid urbanization, which has led to high demand for food, however, without embracing sustainable production systems that will protect the environment, efforts may be in vain.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic’s induced disruptions, Zimbabwe hosted a National Dialogue (Stage 1) on the 3rd of June 2021 and conducted Provincial level consultations (Stage 2) from 20-29 June 2021. At this 3rd Stage National authorities and stakeholder leaders exchange views about the pathways towards sustainable national food systems by 2030, while identifying the intentions and commitments of different actors.
Addressing delegates at the Third Stage Food Systems Pre-Summit National Dialogue, Dr Masuka implored producers and stakeholders in the value chain to improve storage facilities.
“The post-harvest spoilages negatively affect food safety, as infested food is less nutritious, exposes farmers to risk of infections and disease burden. Further, farmer incomes are lost through lower prices at markets.
“There is need to improve storage facilities across the value chain to secure and preserve nutritional quality of the crops harvested,” he said.
United Nations Resident Coordinator, Maria Ribeiro expressed optimism of the nation’s interventions and position for the Food Systems Summit, noting the inclusiveness of the dialogues.
“Your participation has helped to turn the Food Systems Summit into a “People’s Summit,” in the truest sense of the word, despite the continued constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic. I also take heart from the diversity of the dialogue participants in the national and provincial dialogues. We’ve heard from a broad range of actors in the food systems value chain ranging from producers to suppliers and consumers.
“The flexible and inclusive approach towards dialogues has enabled more than 230 stakeholders to lend their voices in shaping Zimbabwe’s position for the Food Systems Summit.
“Convening these dialogues has been one way of exploring opportunities to overcome the challenges of ending hunger and poverty while protecting the planet. Given the universal nature of the 2030 Agenda, sustainable food systems can drive progress across all of the SDGs,” Ribeiro said.
Through the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework 2022-2026, the collective efforts of the UN and partners seek to contribute to the transformation of food systems across the various spectrums. This includes promoting nature positive agricultural production; adopting climate change mitigation and adaptation measures; making food systems more inclusive, equitable, and responsive to threats and crises.
The UN encourages the Government and all stakeholders to work together and ensure broad multi-sectoral collaboration, engaging in particular, disadvantaged groups such as women and youth, towards stable, equitable, climate and environmentally smart food systems that promote access to and utilization of nutritious food for all Zimbabweans.
(Page10) Andrew Matibiri – A giant in agriculture
It was often said of Jan Smuts (the apartheid South African leader) that he shied away from the media glare, but would always be in newspapers and magazines. The same can be said of Andrew Matibiri, the Zimbabwe Agricultural Society (ZAS) boss.
Matibiri a giant in agriculture who is laid back but due to the proficiency and adeptness of his work he is often drawn into the media limelight.
But who really is Andrew Matibiri? The Business Connect sought to unravel this man who is often seen as an enigma.
Matibiri has risen through the ranks of a number of agriculture companies since he joined the Tobacco Research Board in 1983 to being the current Chief Executive Officer with the ZAS.
“I joined the Tobacco Research Board (TRB) in December 1993 as research officer in the Plant Breeding Department. From June to September 1994 I was with the Biotechnology Department in the same position of research officer.
In October 1994 Matibiri who is a holder of a doctorate in horticulture was promoted to the position of senior biotechnologist and head of the department until August 2002.
In September 2002 he was to move to FSI Agricom Holdings as general manager for the tobacco division and later to the farms division.
“From June 2004 to March 2005 I was the Managing Director of Freshbreeze Marketing (Pvt) Ltd, a company that bought paprika from farmers, processed and exported the products,” said the amiable and unassuming Matibiri.
In April 2005 he was to join the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board an organization that became almost synonymous with him.
“From April 2005 to February 2007 I was the Technical Services Executive Director with Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board and then from February 2007 to 30 April 2021 I was the Acting Chief Executive Officer and later (in 2009) Chief Executive Officer, Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB),” he said.
Matibiri stepped down from the helm of TIMB in April 2021and was appointed the Chief Executive Officer of ZAS in August this year.
With such vast experience, it’s only prudent that Mabiri has to share some of his knowledge with students in different colleges and universities.
“I am a part-time lecturer in Genetics and Plant Breeding Courses, BSc Agriculture degree course, Crop Science Department, University of Zimbabwe. Part-time laboratory demonstrator in Plant Pathology, Entomology and Nematology Courses, B.Sc. Agriculture degree course, Crop Science department, University of Zimbabwe. Lecturer for Plant Breeding and Advanced Plant Breeding courses, B.Sc. Agriculture degree course, University of Zimbabwe. Lecturer for Quantitative and Population Genetics courses, B.Sc. degree course, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Zimbabwe. I had a three-month attachment to the Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Department, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom, to acquire practical fungal molecular biology and biotechnology skills,” said Matibiri.