By Wellington Makonese
THE agriculture sector is the mainstay of the country’s economy and its evolution has been accelerated by the Second Republic in line with the thrust of inclusive development.
The country’s liberation struggle was premised on the land question and the dream was only realised 20 years later through the land reform programme.
While the land reform in itself has faced Western resistance, it has been hailed locally as an empowerment initiative that most African countries dream of achieving.
Although the agricultural sector was heavily affected by the Western-imposed sanctions leading to subdued productivity, the revolution has been transformative, with women and youths benefiting.
“As women in the past, we were excluded in farming. Now we are into organic farming for garlic and paprika. As a women farming syndicate, we have over 5000 farmers and look to export. Avenues have been created,” said Chiedza Machingauta of Women’s Farming Syndicate.
The benefits of the land reform programme have become even more pronounced under the Second Republic, which has sought to leave no one and no place behind in its development matrix.
To address farmers’ financing concerns, the Second Republic last year launched the Agricultural Financing Corporation, which has subsidiaries involved in lending, leasing machinery to farmers and offering insurance cover.
The AFC model is similar to the colonial setup, which fathered and mothered white farmers to capacitate them to a level of self-sustenance.
The climate-proofed Pfumvudza concept was also introduced last season to increase productivity, and the country eclipsed its target of an eight billion dollar economy with maize production.
All these efforts by the government have been met with excitement among youths.
“I am grateful to the Second Republic for being able to bring programmes that have pushed us as young farmers to access finance, command agriculture inputs and Pfumvudza. In the past, youth were not visible in these initiatives,” said a young farmer, Benedict Chagumuka.
The country is currently implementing the agriculture growth and recovery plan and one of its key components involves water harvesting, and maximum water body utilisation with dam projects such as Gwayi Shanghani Dam, Semwa and Marovanyati among other multimillion-dollar projects beaming light on the programme.