ZIMBABWE will for the first time participate at the 55th New Zealand Fieldays which kicks off here tomorrow, as the Second Republic’s diplomatic offensive under its engagement and re-engagement drive, continues to bear fruit.
Fieldays is the Southern Hemisphere’s largest agricultural event and attracts farmers, industry professionals, advocates and other participants from across the globe.
Zimbabwe will join more than 1 000 exhibitors showcasing the latest cutting-edge farming technology, innovative agricultural practices, and a vibrant marketplace as Fieldays offers a unique platform for international visitors to engage with the latest advancements in the agricultural sector and foster valuable connections with a diverse range of stakeholders.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary, Mr Nick Mangwana, is leading the Zimbabwe delegation which includes other Government officials and representatives from universities.
Already, Zimbabwe has lined up meetings with some New Zealand agro-companies who have expressed interest in engaging with the Government.
In an interview, Mr Mangwana said Zimbabwe’s invitation and subsequent participation was testament that the country was headed in the right direction, as it endeavours to become a “friend to all and enemy to none”.
“When Zimbabwe undertook the Fast track Land Reform Programme, some Western countries registered their disapproval by making sure that there was no support or market for new farmers’ products.
“In short, Zimbabwe’s farming was sanctioned. For Zimbabwe to be invited this year to the New Zealand Fieldays is a sign of huge turnaround in relations for the Government of Zimbabwe and its institutions as well as the agriculture sector.
“It’s a testimony to the success of the re-engagement agenda set by President ED Mnangagwa,” he said.
As an agro-based economy, Mr Mangwana said this was an opportunity for the country to showcase as well as tap into some of the leading minds in agriculture globally.
“Zimbabwe is primarily an agro-based economy. This is an opportunity to share ideas, technology, connectivity, innovation as well as modern solutions to modern problems in the agriculture space.
“We have come to New Zealand with representatives from about 5 universities because of the innovation thrust of the Second Republic,” he said.
Mr Mangwana added that, going forward Zimbabwe would increase its presence at such fora, especially when it had been invited.
He said participating at such events would aide in the country’s development agenda while increasing its visibility.
“We hope our innovators will be so inspired as to come up with more heritage-based solutions to our agro-sector. We need to register more participants in this space.
“Let’s remember that New Zealand is one of the world’s largest exporters of dairy products and sheep meat. We are rebuilding our national cattle herd and there is so much to share, so much to learn as well,” he said.