Nqobile Tshili, Business Reporter
DRIVING rural industrialisation through use of latest technology and enhanced agricultural production are top priorities of the rebranded Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (Arda).
The State-owned enterprise has announced completion of a rebranding exercise aimed at repositioning the organisation to drive economic development through agriculture.
Under its revised thrust, Arda is already seized with the process of reviving 450 community irrigation schemes across the country and scaling up production on its estates nationwide.
This is in line with President Mnangagwa’s vision of transforming Zimbabwe into an upper middle-income economy by 2030, said Arda chairman, Mr Ivan Craig.
“Arda is rebranding to reposition itself on the market. We are taking the opportunity to evolve our brand in order to better communicate the equity that Arda truly represents and re-align with our refined value proposition and vision,” he said.
“A strategically transformed Arda will efficiently play its role in the implementation of programmes that underpin the current agriculture recovery process as guided by the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy (AFTSTS), the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) and the Accelerated Irrigation Rehabilitation and Development Plan (AIRDP), all dovetailing with Vision 2030.”
Arda chief executive officer, Mr Tinotenda Mhiko, said the transformation and rebranding of his organisation will contribute to self-sustenance at household level and contribute to national economic development.
The Arda’s vision, he said, is anchored on rural development and industrialisation using agriculture resources.
“Our objective is to ensure self-sustenance across all our operations countrywide and to lead by farming at our own administered estates, rural irrigation schemes and other rural development projects,” he said.
“We have had to embrace and deploy robust strategies to achieve quick-win solutions through smart agricultural practices to boost production in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner.”
The authority is expected to set up comprehensive rural irrigation schemes and community development projects with focus on scheme business viability and sustainability.
Running irrigation schemes and community development projects under Arda managers will boost productivity, said Mr Mhiko.
“The current rebranding exercise will, therefore, reposition Arda as an integral player in the agriculture and agro industry sector by introducing new products and services for farmers across the value chain,” he added.
“Arda will always remain indebted for the invaluable support from the Government as our shareholder. This will no doubt drive the concerted efforts being undertaken for import substitution and to re-establish Zimbabwe as the breadbasket of Africa.”
Through reviving irrigation schemes across the country, Mr Mhiko said Arda commits to rural industrialisation through agriculture. Recapacitating all the Arda estates and reviving all the 450 rural irrigation schemes and other community development projects would maximise production for national food, fibre and bio-fuels security, said Mr Mhiko.
This will see excess produce being exported to generate the much-needed foreign currency. Mr Mhiko said Arda’s new product range will see the deployment of technology and innovations that will see farmers benefiting from the yield output, value addition and access to markets at very competitive prices.
This would go a long way in stimulating economic growth in associated processing and downstream industries through establishing rural agro-processing plants in all strategic locations to guarantee markets and promote value addition and beneficiation.
“This would ensure development and industrialisation of marginalised rural communities,” said Mr Mhiko. — @nqotshili.