ZIMBABWE – The Agriculture Marketing Authority (AMA) recorded 26 percent growth in revenues to US$2.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2018 supported by increased agricultural production during the period under review.

According to a report by The Chronicle, net surplus increased 43 percent to US$1.05 million from US$729 062 recorded in the prior year, while revenue for the year jumped 26 percent from US$1.8 million posted in the prior year.

Speaking during the authority’s annual general meeting, Barean Mukwende, AMA chairman said that the authority’s success for the period was spurred of several investments made on the country`s agricultural sector which resulted in high output.

“The agricultural sector experienced another fruitful year spurred by increases in tobacco production, cotton and horticulture production.

“Government continued to invest in the sector through the Presidential input scheme and command agriculture in crops and livestock,” said Mr Mukwende.

In addition, net cash generated increased to US$1.3 million from US$1.1 million driven by a strong operating surplus before working capital, while capital expenditure rose to US$1.5 million from US$0.196 million.

He said the period was characterised by inflationary pressures resulting to an increase in the parastatal’s operating expenditure, which posed diverse opinions by the authority’s auditors.

“The financial performance for the period 31 December 2018 was good despite a challenging economic operating environment characterised by currency distortions that resulted in adverse opinion by auditors.

“Operating expenditure was affected by the growth in inflation rate raising from US$1.1 million to US$1.3 million,” said Mr Mukwende.

Vangelis Haritatos, Deputy Minister of Agriculture said that there was a need for the government and the private sector to work together towards mitigating food security challenges especially due to climate changes.

“It is clear that Government and private sector must cooperate in boosting investment and spend more on creating agricultural productive assets especially expansion of irrigation to mitigate against future droughts,” he said.

As part of the interventions, the government has so far availed US$120 million towards the purchase of critical inputs to support farmers under the 2019 winter wheat production.

The country has set a target of 75 000 hectares during this year’s winter wheat season with anticipated high yields set to improve domestic supply and cut the import bill.