By Vimbai Kamoyo
Vice President Kembo Mohadi has urged farmers to grow cash crop, castor bean, as it has the capacity to boost economic fortunes of the country.
Speaking at a convention organised by agriculture concern Life Brand Agricultural Service, the second in command, said the seed which is used to extract castor oil is vital in bringing the much needed foreign currency to the country.
“In implementing our agricultural policy measures, government is concentrating on creating production bases for cash crops such as castor beans, with a view to gain access in the global market. With its immense health and industrial properties castor beans will no doubt play a major role in our goal to transform the country in line with vision 2030
“I am informed this plant has incredible industrial value, low demand for water and prolific growth even in harsh conditions of the marginal land. It is actually a bush that our people can leverage on for economic prosperity,” said Mohadi.
The Vice President also said growing of the crop which he claimed to be environment friendly; would help in cutting the import bill that is weighing heavily on the country’s economic shoulders.
“Castor oil (product of castor bean) is the resource in the world with a huge demand. It is used in pharmaceutical industry, food and beverage industry and industrial oils among others. As a source of fuel, castor bio-diesel burns cooler and cleaner than conventional fuel with reduced carbon monoxide, smoke-emissions and cancer-linked compounds in the atmosphere.
“Currently our import bill for fuel, pharmaceuticals, lubricants, paints, cosmetics and livestock production is over US$2 billion. This can be reduced by the commercialisation of castor beans farming in the country. I am reliably informed that castor production has the potential to earn the country US$7 billion annually,” he said.
Speaking at the same occasion, the Chief Operating Officer of Life Brand, Israel Kembo, assured the farmers that will be contracted to the company to be paid in foreign currency.
“Let me assure all the farmers that are contracted to us that they will all be paid in American dollars,” he said.