27 Sep 2017

Agriculture sector – Key driver for economic turnaround in Zimbabwe

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Despite various challenges, Zimbabwe’s agriculture economy is producing new economic activity because it is more rooted following land reform. Research and study shows, while economic linkages generated by agriculture bring opportunities, the distribution of benefits is patchy; some succeed and are accumulating, while others are not. There are several challenges ahead accompanying with agricultural production. These include the need for a reliable supply of reasonably priced fertilizers; the need for enhanced extension and service support; the need for investment in irrigation facilities, water and management; and the necessities of tenure security to encourage investment.
Chief executive, Agricultural Society (ZAS), Dr Anxious Masuka stated his organization will now be concentrating on agricultural development to ensure Zimbabweans become more productive with their land. Most Zimbabweans who have benefitted from the government’s land reform exercise are yet to completely benefit from the resource owing to a plentiful of reasons. Lack of production on land resulted in the country dependent on the importation of grain from Zambia, South Africa, Brazil and Malawi to ensure food security. Addressing delegates at an exhibitors’ cocktail, Dr Masuka also stated that the major problem in the country is that people don’t want to take farming as a business that can generate money for them.
With production and export handling playing as major concerns in the previous decline in the country’s economy, focusing long term investments on the agrarian sector is expected to function as an important step forward. In fact, coupled with mining, the agriculture sector is expected to be the major factors for economic turnaround as well as increased production for the country. This year’s the excessive production of maize crop is expected to play a positive role in economic turnaround and improvement in the 2017 fiscal period, and is expected to surpass the amount produced in the past decade. Cotton and Tobacco production are also looking up.
Another currently-introduced a policy in agriculture sector has allowed farmers to purchase certain goods with the use of credit. This process, also referred as Command agriculture, has produced outstanding results. The success of such policy has led to the planned expansion of the program, which will focus on the production of wheat during the winter season. There is also some hope that a larger farming operations can be re-introduced into the marketplace, since focusing solely on small farming operations or businesses has led to the underproduction associated with country’s economic decline. If such operations can be persuaded to grow more of Zimbabwe’s primary exports – soybeans, tobacco, cotton and maize; it is estimated that the fiscal situation will continue to recover from the past some years of constraint. A turnaround of these agricultural policies and programs and an increased concentration on large-scale farming and farmers incentives may be just the breakthrough that the country needs to turn its financial situation around.

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