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Agric contributes 18pc to economy

Zimbabwe’s economy is anchored on agriculture, with the sector contributing 18 percent to gross domestic product (GDP), Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Deputy Minister Davis Marapira has said.

The sector also provides core livelihood to 67 percent of the population living in rural areas.

Deputy Marapira was speaking during a horticulture conference in Türkiye recently.

He said Zimbabwe was endowed with an abundance of fertile agricultural land of up to 33 million hectares, and good climate, which allows the country to produce over 23 exportable crops and livestock commodities, including maize and other cereals, soyabean and other oil crops, legumes, macadamia, coffee, avocados, citrus and other fruits.

“Just at the beginning of this year, Zimbabwe and China concluded a trade protocol for the export of citrus to China,” he said.

“This presents a huge opportunity for investors in citrus production, aggregation and cold chain facilities.”

Also emerging are high value exportable commodities such as industrial hemp and medicinal cannabis and Zimbabwe is open to receiving investors in the production, processing and marketing of the crops.

In the horticulture sub-space, blueberries, pecan nuts, macadamia nuts, avocados, coffee, passion fruit and other high value crops presented perfect opportunities for export-oriented investors keen to realise reasonable profit margins.

Through the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) and the Agriculture and Food Systems Strategy, Zimbabwe has already achieved a US$8,2 billion agriculture economy.

Further, the country is food self-sufficient having achieved a record harvest of 375 000 tonnes of wheat last year and this year, wheat output is now 465 000 tonnes, surpassing national annual requirements of 360 000 tonnes.

In terms of tobacco, a record of nearly 300 million kg was harvested during the 2022/2023 season.

Zimbabwe was now working towards export diversification, employment creation and raising income and standards of living for the population in line with the rural agri-industrialisation thrust under the Rural Development 8.0 Programme.

The Rural Development 8.0 Programme initiative has eight outcome-based interventions targeted at the rural population, and these include the Climate-Proofed Presidential Input Scheme, Presidential Cotton Scheme, Presidential Goat Scheme, Presidential Poultry Scheme, Youth Incubation Programme and the Nutrition Gardens.

Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Türkiye, Alfred Mutiwazuka, said trade and investment potential between Türkiye and Zimbabwe was huge as the total value of trade between the two countries doubled from US$19 million in 2019 to US$38 million this year.

He called upon the Kahramanmaras Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Türkiye to collaborate with the Zimbabwe business community on broadening trade and economic cooperation.

“The forum (horticulture expo) provides an opportunity for the Zimbabwe Government and business representatives to share trade and investment opportunities with Turkish counterparts,” he said.

“I have no doubt that this relationship enhances bilateral economic cooperation.”

Ambassador Mutiwazuka congratulated Turkish companies for their commitment to cooperate with Zimbabwe as evidenced by the licensing of four Turkish investors by the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA) interested in manufacturing, transport, energy and biometric solutions.

“I am optimistic about successful cooperation between Turkish and Zimbabwean institutions such as the collaboration between NRZ and Yapi Merkezi, Turkish Airlines and Air Zimbabwe, ZIDA and MESBAS Free Zones and our defence companies,” he said.

The various programmes will see increased economic activity along the agriculture value chain from production to marketing and generating employment in the process.

Zimbabwe is on course to put 350 000ha under irrigation to enable the sector’s new growth target.

Recently, President Mnangagwa said insulating the country’s agriculture from climate change and induced weather fluctuations was a top priority.

The development of the country’s agriculture sector is key in reducing poverty, hunger and malnutrition as 67 percent of the population resides in rural areas and relies on smallholder farming as a source of livelihood.

Hrerald

Positive Eye News

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