HARARE – Government has assured the nation that is working towards ensuring gender balance and equal opportunities for men and women especially in the agriculture sector.
Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, Minister Perrance Shiri recently met the newly appointed board members for the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), Pig Industry Board (PIB), Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) and the Agricultural Rural and Development Authority (ARDA) and highlighted the issue.
He said there have been concerns over the new boards, as they appeared to be biased towards men, but this would be corrected when the remaining parastatal boards are appointed.
The Minister is yet to announce boards for the Cold Storage Commission and Agribank.
“Gender mainstreaming is at the core of Government policy. We are committed to ensure that we have representation of the aspects of gender on our boards.
“I promise that we are going to come up with a shocker when appointing the remaining boards. The ones we have announced appear to have been dominated by males but I assure you the reaming boards will not necessarily reflect that. We are going to take appropriate measures,” he said.
Minister Shiri said it was appropriate that companies have boards as they play a pivotal role in directing the operations of the parastatals.
“It is always healthy for the companies and parastatals to have boards. It is an anomaly to allow them to operate without boards given the crucial role they play in directing operations of parastatals.
“We are very much alive to the effect that some of our parastatals do not have boards and we are working tirelessly so that we rectify that. Very soon we are going to be announcing new boards for the remaining parastatals,” he said.
Minister Shiri said the appointment of board members for parastatals had come at a time when the country was poised for positive future economic growth prospects as current fiscal and monetary measures set conducive environment where domestic and foreign investment could flourish.
“The agricultural trajectory faces risks and challenges which include foreign currency and cash shortages, unsustainable high budgets and current account deficits, emerging inflation pressures, slow moving re engagement processes and infrastructure deficiencies among other issues.
“Let us all take bold decisions to stimulate growth and sustainable development within the agricultural sector. Parastatals should be geared up to align to the reform processes,” he said.