US$8.2 billion agriculture economy for Zim by 2025

By ZBC Reporter

Zimbabwe is positioned to have a US$8,2 billion agriculture economy by 2025 following the launch of the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy by President Emmerson Mnangagwa this Wednesday.

Launching the strategy during the 8th Annual Agri-business Conference at the Harare Exhibition Park, President Mnangagwa said the Government’s economic policies were aimed at industrialisation, modernisation and creating a sustainable investment environment in society.

The plan of action was drawn from the Agriculture Recovery and Livestock Growth plans initiated during the tenure of the late national hero and Agriculture Minister, Perrance Shiri.

It outlines specific key projects that include the provision of inputs to both vulnerable and smallholder farmers, fostering market links, climate-proofing all agriculture support programmes, implementation of market-based programmes which bring in the private sector and improve the competitiveness of agriculture commodities on local and export markets.

The President said his administration was committed to ending hunger and poverty in line with the aspirations of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2014 African Union Malabo Declaration.

“This ambitious and yet achievable economic projection enjoins all of us across the economic and social spectrum to be more productive and work with greater synergies and collaboration. This action-oriented strategy provides the compass to the agriculture sector to fully exploit the inherent and God-given natural resources of land and water as well as our hardworking human capital,” said President Mnangagwa.

The strategy has seen the interventions such as the rebranded Climate-Proofed Presidential Inputs Support Programme that has seen the introduction of the Pfumvudza conservation agriculture programme, to ensure that farmers show commitment by accepting training and then use the new skills to ensure that best use is made of the inputs.

Government has also transformed Agribank into a land bank, which will provide comprehensive financial and technical services to farmers and supporting projects aimed at promoting value chains in both private and community-based agriculture.

Vice President Chiwenga said the strategy was expected to move the country towards the attainment of Vision 2030 of an Upper Middle-Income society and was an integral component of the policies for national growth.

“The agriculture transformation will take the value chain approach and transform the sector by increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of available resources.”

Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Anxious Masuka said the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy was anchored on four pillars: enabling agriculture policy and the regulatory environment to facilitate the flow of investment into the sector; appropriate agriculture investments for productivity, food security and resilience; efficient agricultural knowledge, technology and innovation system; and the agriculture sector coordination for responsive planning, implementation monitoring and evaluation.

Minister Masuka added that, “farming must be approached from a business perspective. It is a business. The ministry will ensure a conducive policy and institutional environment for agriculture to thrive.”

The conference comes at a time when the SADC seasonal rainfall forecast is expected to be out this Friday with indications that the next season will be better than the past two.

Agricultural production and productivity challenges being faced by the sector, their possible solutions, and the degree of preparedness for the coming rainy season were some of the issues discussed yesterday.

The agribusiness conference was attended by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga; Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Anxious Masuka; Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo; Minister of State for Harare Metropolitan Province Oliver Chidau; and representatives from the agriculture sector, among others.