By Wellington Makonese
Zimbabwe’s agriculture sector has received regional recognition after the Centre for Coordinating of Agriculture Research and Development for Southern Africa ranked Zimbabwe high in digital agriculture innovation in the SADC region.
The sector has made significant growth under the Second Republic as a result of a cocktail of policy measures such as the Agriculture Recovery and Growth Plan in agri-commerce and smart farming, which have propped up the agriculture economy to US$8.2 billion within two years.
The growth of the sector has received regional recognition for adaption to innovations, with a baseline study on agriculture digitalisation by the Centre for coordination of Agriculture Research and Development for Southern Africa (CCARDESA) ranking Zimbabwe, Tanzania and South Africa among the best of the 16 member states.
Agronomists noted that the recognition comes as an endorsement of the public private partnerships spearheaded by government.
Chief Agronomist Mr Ivan Craig said, “It’s a commendable recognition. Where we have travelled around southern Africa and Africa as a whole, you can see that we are advanced in e-farming practices. Government has capacitated extension officers with tablets, with new practices, which also provides solutions to challenges, markets are also provided.”
Farmers’ adoption of emerging trends to farming has come in handy, with expectations of further growth through e-farming and mechanisation innovations.
“Zimbabwe is making strides, we see the interactions of ICT services and extension works, from inputs to information, we see that many of our younger farmers do their staff online,” Zimbabwe Farmers Union Secretary General, Mr Paul Zakaria noted.
The study identified 216 digital agriculture innovations which are poised to transform agri-food systems through integrating stakeholders and their work across value chains.
Zimbabwe had set a target of an US$8.2 billion economy by 2025, a figure which has since been reviewed upwards to US$10 billion after the target was met within two years.