/The Zimbabwe Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy to Transform Agriculture

The Zimbabwe Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy to Transform Agriculture

Zimbabwe recently launched the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy aimed at transformation, industrialisation, modernisation and creating a sustainable investment environment of the country.

Launching the strategy at the 8th annual agribusiness conference hosted by the National Economic Consultative Forum and the Zimbabwe Agricultural Society this morning, President Mnangagwa said that,” The Agriculture and Food Systems Strategy complements the above and is an integral part of our national development agenda. “

The Agriculture Food Systems Transformation Strategy is widely expected to boost the Zimbabwe agriculture sector that has seen years of disinvestment, poor performance and ravages of climate change-induced droughts and unpredictable and extreme climate phenomena now characterised by flooding, short seasonality.

The agricultural food systems of the world are under tremendous stress from loss of biodiversity and climate change.

Taking a systems-based approach to tackling the complex challenges, governments should work to accelerate innovation, technology, data, governance, and institutions to transform today’s agri-food systems for tomorrow’s world where no one goes hungry.

Zimbabwe has reported a bumper harvest of maize and other grains, capable of feeding the country’s 14,65 million people for the next year.

The US department of agriculture recently estimated the Zimbabwe maize production for 2021 stands at 2,7 million tonnes. This maize yield is estimated to be triple the 2020 harvest. The agricultural sector is projected to grow 34% this year, more than three times the 11% projected in the budget given at the end of last year.

In May this year, Zimbabwe’s Agricultural Marketing Authority announced a complete ban on maize imports, citing the expected bumper harvest and surplus. The Zimbabwean government expects to save an estimated US$300 million from the ban. The 2019/20 season was plagued by drought and the country spent US$298 million on maize imports.

The country’s large production output has primarily been attributed to favourable rainfall, supported by government programmes that ensured that farmers had adequate inputs on time for the 2020/21 cropping season.

Covid-19 however continues to pushing millions of people into extreme poverty and food insecurity. Almost half of the Zimbabwe population extremely poor according, to the World Bank Estimates.

The Zimbabwe Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy seek to achieve a US $8.2 billion agriculture industry by 2025 and the strategy was drawn from the agriculture recovery and livestock growth plans.

 “Agriculture is the nerve centre of Zimbabwe’s economy, contributing between 15 to 18 per cent of our GDP, it is the centre pivot from which all other pillars of our economy radiate and the fountain of our manufacturing and tourism sectors as well as a key driver to social and infrastructure development among other aspects of the economy.”

 “The agriculture and food systems strategy complements the above and is an integral part of our national development agenda. This is aimed at industrialisation, modernisation and creating a sustainable investment environment for our society. The three reinforcing strategies envision the attainment of a US$25 billion economy in the three respective sectors by 2025. This ambitious and yet achievable economic projection enjoins all of us across the economic and social spectrum to be more productive and to work with greater synergies and collaboration,” he said.

By AgroSeason Managing Editor Francis Bingandadi