Zim targets US$13,75bn agric sector

ZIMBABWE is targeting a US$13,75 billion agriculture sector economy by 2025 after it surpassed the initial US$8,2 billion target last year, with food security the foundation for sustainable economic growth, President Mnangagwa has said.

This comes as the Second Republic continues to make bold strides in consolidating the country’s food security, and over the past three seasons under the visionary leadership of President Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe has broken production records in the sector, which remains the mainstay of the economy.

Now, Zimbabwe is on course to retaining its breadbasket status as it has started exporting maize and other grains.

The country is also poised to become a net exporter of wheat in the near future following consecutive bumper harvests.

Officially opening the 113th Zimbabwe Agricultural Show in Harare yesterday, President Mnangagwa said food security was the basis upon which Zimbabwe would continue building a sound economy.

To this end, the President said the country was on course to putting 350 000 hectares under irrigation, as this was a key enabler of the sector’s new growth target.

He said the continuous revision upwards of agricultural targets was only testament that the Land Reform Programme was indeed a success.

The Head of State and Government, who is also the Commander-In-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, said insulating the country’s agriculture from climate change-induced weather fluctuations was a top Government priority.

“In this regard, focus remains on guaranteeing food security and sovereignty as the basis upon which we build a sound economy. Enhancing national capabilities to insulate the agriculture sector from climate change induced weather fluctuations, while also strengthening adaptation and resilience by our communities, is equally critical.

The President and First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa leave the Glamis Arena after the official opening of the Agric Show yesterday.

“The unparalleled growth witnessed in our country’s agriculture sector over the past four years must be sustained.

“The previous target of US$8,2 billion by December 2022 was surpassed when we achieved US$9,9 billion. This has necessitated an upward revision of the target to a US$13,75 billion agriculture sector by 2025.” 

President Mnangagwa attributed the growth witnessed in the country’s agriculture landscape in recent years to robust policies and mechanisms instituted by the Second Republic.

Consequently, the country is now wheat self-sufficient, on top of notching bumper harvests in maize and traditional grains.

“This unprecedented growth is a result of the robust and resilient agriculture sector, driven by climate-proofed production and productivity. The Pfumvudza/Intwasa Programme and Presidential Input Scheme among other interventions have contributed to both household and national food security.

“Over the past three seasons, we have produced above our country’s annual cereal requirement of 2.2 million metric tonnes. Under the Accelerated Irrigation Development and Rehabilitation Programme, the sector has to date, realised, 204 000 hectares under irrigation, from 173 000 hectares in 2020.

“We are on course to achieve the target of irrigating 350 000 hectares by 2025,” he said.

While highlighting some of the milestones reached by the Second Republic on the agricultural front, President Mnangagwa said these were all a result of the people-centred policies initiated by his administration.

“Zimbabwe is now wheat self-sufficient over and above the bumper maize and traditional grain harvests, owing to increased internal agricultural production and productivity.

“The country achieved a record winter wheat production of 375 131 metric tonnes from 80 886 hectares planted in the 2022 Winter Production Season. We are again poised to surpass current production levels as 90 192 hectares of wheat were planted during this 2023 Winter Wheat Production season.

“Similarly, our country achieved a record production of 295 million kilogrammes of tobacco during the 2022/2023 season. It is worth noting that the bulk of the wheat and tobacco production is coming from Al and A2 farmers.

“This is indisputable evidence of the success of our Land Reform Programme as well as the responsive pro-people policies of the Second Republic.

“As the people of Zimbabwe, we acknowledge and celebrate these milestones by our farmers”.

The President also outlined progress made in the livestock subsector, notably combating of livestock diseases as well as registered growth in the national herd.

“In the livestock sector, the meticulous implementation of the Livestock Growth Plan led to an impressive performance of the livestock sub-sector.

“The January Disease-induced livestock mortalities decreased by over 47 percent while the national beef herd has increased to 5.6 million between the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 season.

“Additionally, the national dairy herd increased by 11.39 percent from 47 825 in 2021-2022 to 53 250 in 2022 and 2023 while total milk production increased by 15 percent from 79.6 million litres in 2021-2022 to 91.4 million litres in the 2022-2023 season. The 1 495 smallholder dairy farmers benefited from the Presidential Silage Input Scheme which positively impacted overall milk production.

“In terms of the poultry sub-sector, production of day-old chicks increased by 28 percent from 71.4 million in 2020-2021 to 91.6 million chicks in 2021-2022.

“The Presidential Poultry Scheme is accelerating the distribution of chicks to rural households, with a grand target of distributing 30 million poultry chicks to 3 million beneficiaries across the country,” he said.

President Mnangagwa also revealed that Government was scaling up programmes for the 2023/2024 summer cropping season, with preparations already underway.

“This includes accelerated implementation of the Rural Development 8.0 model, which among other issues is establishing 35 000 Village Business Units, one in each of the 35 000 villages; 2 400 Youth Business Units, one in each ward, 9 600 School Business Units, one in each school and 460 Irrigation Scheme Business Units, one at each of our 460 irrigation schemes. No one and no place will be left behind.

President Mnangagwa admires one of the Brahman bulls being exhibited at the 2023 Zimbabwe Agricultural Show in Harare yesterday.

“Going forward, it is my expectation that the singleness of purpose and hard work ethic, which have become synonymous with the sector, will see us realise the revised targets in our Agriculture and Food Transformation Strategy,” he said.

The President also took time to commend Zimbabweans for conducting themselves in a peaceful and non-violent manner during last week’s harmonised elections, while exhorting them to hit the ground running towards the achievement of the national vision of an upper-middle-income society by 2030.

“I would like to once again commend the people of our beloved country, Zimbabwe, for the unity, peace, tolerance and love which continues to be exhibited following our successful 2023 harmonised general elections.

“Now that the elections are behind us, let us put shoulders to the wheel, with the similar unity of purpose and resolve as we develop, modernise and industrialise our country to attain Vision 2030,” he said.

President Mnangagwa, who was accompanied by First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, Zanu PF Vice President Cde Kembo Mohadi, Minister of Defence and War Veterans Oppah Muchinguri Kashiri, Cabinet Ministers, senior Government officials and service chiefs, also inspected a guard of honour at the Glamis Arena where thousands of people had gathered to hear him deliver his speech.

Herald

Positive Eye News

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