Government would have to increase the agriculture industry’s contribution to the economy as the sector has almost achieved the US$8,2 billion economy target in one season, spurred by the bumper harvest realised in the 2020/2021 farming period.
Zimbabwe was positioned to beat the US$8,2 billion agriculture economy by 2025 following the launch of the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy by President Emmerson Mnangagwa last year.
The agrarian transformation plan of action was drawn from the Agriculture Recovery and Livestock Growth plans, which 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, among others.
However, the sector has quickly made a huge jump in productive capacity – sharply narrowing the target achievement timespan, which shows its huge potential, said Dr Anxious Masuka, the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development in a recent address to business leaders in Victoria Falls.
“We have now moved to an US$8.2 billion industry, which we had hoped to achieve in five years but attained it in one season,” said the minister.
His sentiments come as grain deliveries continue to flood the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), where farmers have so far delivered more than one million metric tonnes of maize, wheat, traditional grans and soya beans. Treasury has since revised projected agriculture sector growth to about 34 percent this year, with the 2021/2022 season also promising to be good, as indicated by positive rainfall projections.
Concurring with Dr Masuka, Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) board chairperson, Mr Ivan Craig, said there was a need to set a new target for the agricultural sector under the National Development Strategy (NDS1).
“The country has done well in realising the 2021-2025 target under the agricultural sector. We are in 2021 and we are on US$7,8 billion already, we still have four years to achieve the US$8,2 billion,” said Mr Craig while addressing stakeholders at the recent Matabeleland South Agricultural Show in Gwanda. *Chronicle*