BY FREEMAN MAKOPA
GOVERNMENT says it is targeting to transform the agricultural sector from a US$5,8 billion to an US$8,2 billion economy by 2025. The sector should also be able to contribute 20% to the gross domestic product (GDP).
Agriculture plays a key role in the southern African nation, currently contributing 17% to GDP and is the main source of livelihood for around 70% of the country’s population. But in its report titled Zimbabwe: Agriculture Sector Disaster Risk Assessment the World Bank said Zimbabwe could actually benefit more if production risks were better managed.
Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement permanent secretary John Basera told NewsDay Business recently that the sector was poised for growth as government targets to roll out pro-rural agricultural activities.
“The aim is to transform the sector from a US$5,8 billion agriculture economy as of 2020 to an US$8,2 billion by the year 2025, contributing at least 20% to GDP. In 2021, the sector grew by over 36% to US$8,1 billion. The sector has achieved what was envisaged to be achieved in five years and the sector is poised for more growth as we roll out the pro-rural agricultural initiatives.
“If we get our agriculture right, then we are on the right track to get everything else right including and ultimately the Vision 2030 imperatives which entail leaving no one behind, no place behind, no demography behind, no village, ward, district and province behind in light of devolution, while leaving no stone unturned,” he said.
Last year, the Food and Agriculture Organisation agro-food systems investments and policy support specialist, Roy Machoko said Zimbabwe was failing to attract meaningful investment in various economic sectors due to a lack of blueprints that guarantee returns for investors.
Basera also highlighted that the Pfumvudza/Intwasa initiative in its first year of implementation contributed 41% to total maize production in the 2020/21 season which saw the country breaking maize production records to reach 2 717 171 tonne (t) and over 350 000t of traditional grains.
Total grain output reached over three million metric tonnes against a national annual requirement of 2,2 million tonnes, leaving a surplus of over 800 000t for the first time in many years.
National average maize productivity grew sharply from 0,5t per hectare in the 2019/20 season to 1,4t/ha in the 2020/21 season, mainly because of the religious implementation of this flagship programme.
However, apart from various initiatives, government says it has started implementing the accelerated national irrigation rehabilitation and development programme aimed at increasing the area under irrigation from 175 000ha in 2020 to 350 000ha by 2025.
The ministry is also aggressively exploring ways to revitalise all the 450 smallholder irrigation schemes totalling 26 000ha.
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