IMF windfall to boost horticulture industry

By Owen Mandovha
PLAYERS in the agriculture sector agree that the historical successes of the country’s horticultural industry justify treasury’s decision to allocate part of US$961 million IMF windfall to support the sector.
Though gradually recovering, Zimbabwe’s horticultural industry was one of the most developed on the continent even rivalling Kenya whose industry rakes in billions of dollars in export earnings.
Cognisant of the local industry’s immense export earnings potential, treasury will allocate part of the US$96I million International Monetary Fund Special Drawing Rights to support the sector in a move which has been widely hailed by key players in the industry.
“The Minister of Finance specifically mentioned blueberries as one key crop which needs to be supported due to its huge export appeal. Obviously the returns are huge if the production of such crops is fully supported,” said Wencelous Nyamufukudza, an Agronomist.
Others say this is a shot in the arm for the successful implementation of the Horticulture Recovery and Growth Plan launched by Government last year to bring back the glory days.
“There is obvi ously no doubt that horticulture remains a key sector in the economy and looking at what the country earned in the past from the sector there is all justification for the Government to target the sector in terms of financing,” said Ephraim Chandiwana, Horticultural Expert
Treasury also intends to allocate over half of the IMF funds to support the economy, with the rest going towards education, health and the provision of social safety nets among a dozen list of priorities.