ZIMBABWE has registered significant milestones in agriculture, which is now poised to contribute 20 percent to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), from the current 13 percent, according to Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Deputy Minister Vangelis Haritatos.
He said this at the CEO Africa Roundtable in Victoria Falls last week.
This year’s event, which began on Wednesday and ended yesterday, ran under the theme “Advancing systematic leadership and shaping a better future for all”.
Deputy Minister Haritatos said the gains achieved in agriculture were driven by transformative policies such as the Livestock Recovery and Growth Plan, the Accelerated Irrigation Rehabilitation and Development Plan, the Tobacco Value Chain Transformation Strategy, and the Traditional Grains Development Strategy.
“In line with the National Development Strategy 1, regional, continental and international commitments, the ministry instituted the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy as a critical policy to revive, restructure, reform . . . and increase the sector’s contribution to GDP from 13 percent to 20 percent so as to anchor Zimbabwe’s economic recovery, growth and development in the face of climate change vulnerability by 2030,” he said.
“Significant milestones have so far been achieved in the agriculture industry, evidenced by improved output in sub-sectors such as tobacco, maize, cotton and wheat.
“The formation of the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy has accelerated efforts to transform farming units into real business units, which should be very instrumental in rural development and
subsequently national economic transformation.”
The country, Deputy Minister Haritatos said, still needs new and modern equipment to improve both production and productivity.
He said since 2017, sector-specific and clearly defined strategies have been driving performance in the sector.
There has been significant progress in horticulture, which is proving to be a game changer.
Through the Horticulture Recovery and Growth Plan, the Government plans to boost output of key commodities such as blueberries, fresh produce, citrus, macadamia, coffee and high-value emerging crops such as industrial hemp and medicinal cannabis.
“A number of initiatives are lined up under the Horticulture Recovery and Growth Plan, with the overall purpose being to support the revival of the conventional horticulture industry by providing a relevant and evidence-based framework to guide and coordinate development of commodities’ projects and programmes, as well as stimulate a transformative rural horticulture sub-sector under the Presidential Horticulture Scheme covering all 1,8 million rural households,” said Deputy Minister Haritatos.
The Government had also lined up incentives such as rebates for the importation of high-value capital equipment and material for use and preparation of packaging of fresh produce for export to promote investments in agriculture.
Zimbabwe is ideal for the production of more than 23 exportable crops and livestock commodities — including maize, sorghum and other cereals, soyabean, legumes, macadamia, avocado and coffee.
There are also emerging high-value exportable commodities such as blueberries, industrial hemp and cannabis.
Speaking at the CEO Africa Roundtable, Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA)director for commercial services, Mr Dominic Sadziwa, said the organisation now has a
refocused mandate to guarantee national food, feed, fibre, biofuels and seed security through the sustainable management and resuscitation of the authority’s estates and irrigation
“As ARDA, we are now managing 450 irrigation schemes in this country sitting on about 26 000 hectares of arable land. We have deployed what we call scheme business managers who are actually running these irrigation schemes. There are opportunities for us as ARDA to partner with the private sector in the production of various crops,” he said.
Agriculture has already surpassed the initial target to contribute US$8,2 billion annually by 2025 after the sector grew by 36,2 percent to US$8,19 billion last year.
The Government launched the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy in 2020 to ensure household and national food security, including promotion of production and productivity.
Significant milestones have been achieved in sub-sectors such as tobacco, where output reached 212 million kilogrammes this year, from 210 million kg in 2021.
Wheat output is forecast to rise to 380 000 tonnes this year against a national requirement of 360 000 tonnes.