By Robert Tpafumaneyi
GOVERNMENT has launched an ambitious plan to revolutionarise rural agriculture which could see remote areas of the country being transformed into exotic fruit production hubs.
Under the plan, each family will receive 10 saplings of apple, granadilla, pecan nuts, apple, guava, mango, lemon, avocado pears and macadamia trees.
Addressing a post cabinet media briefing Tuesday, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said Cabinet considered and approved the Report on the State of Preparedness for the 2021-2022 Agricultural Season as presented by the Vice President and Health Minister Constantino Chiwenga as Chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Food Security and Nutrition, which outlined the plan.
She agricultural extension workers have already been geared for the implementation of the plan whose main aim is to to sustainably increase crop production and productivity to meet and surpass the national requirements for both human consumption and industrial use.
“The nation is advised that the 2021-2022 season will witness the operationalisation of the Rural Presidential Horticulture Plan,” Mustangwa said.
“The plan will target priority fruit trees, namely: passion fruit (Granadilla), pecan nuts, apple, guava, mango, lemon, avocado pears and macadamia. Each targeted household will be given 10 trees of each fruit variety, depending on suitability of the fruit tree to the agro-ecological regions and potential income to be generated. The first phase running to December 2021 has a target of 500 000 seedlings.”
“In addition, a total of 35 000 gardens will be established, and each will be equipped with a solar borehole, cattle water trough and an ablution facility and each garden will cater for a village, school or youth ward centre.”
Mutsvangwa added: “The other strategies in the crops sector include the localisation of tobacco financing in order to optimise the net export benefits to 30% from the current 12,5%.”
“The tobacco sector will be provided with seed money to the tune of US$60 million in order to establish a Revolving Fund for the local financing of tobacco to be a success.”
In the livestock sector, Mutsvnagwa said the strategic objective of the 2021-2022 Livestock Development Plan is to sustainably increase livestock production and productivity to meet and surpass the national requirements for both human consumption and industrial use.
“This will be achieved through implementation of programmes under the Livestock Recovery and Growth Plan such as climate-proofed livestock production; involving the private and financial services sectors; access to forage and pastures; capacitating the livestock and veterinary extension and advisory service delivery system; and strengthening Government-wide coordination, monitoring and evaluation,” she told the media.
“The nation is further advised that the Government will introduce a Presidential Rural Poultry Pass-on Scheme, which seeks to commercialise rural poultry production, thereby providing an affordable source of protein and increasing rural household incomes.”
“The Scheme intends to distribute rural poultry chicks to at least 1,8 million rural households over a period of 5 years. The Goats Pass-On Scheme will see a total of 600 000 does and 40 000 bucks being equitably distributed to 600 000 households in all the country’s 8 rural provinces in 2021.
The programme will result in 1.8 million rural households benefiting by 2023.
The other programmes to be introduced include the Silage and Pasture Production for Enhanced Milk Production, Veterinary Public Health Programme, in order to improve quality and quantity of livestock as well as improve milk production.
The Fisheries and Aquaculture Growth Plan will be implemented and will result in 60 fish ponds being developed at irrigation schemes in the country’s districts, while 6 cage projects will be established at the Muchekeranwa, Osborne, Mutirikwi, Nerutanga, Marovanyati and Chivhu dams. The benefits of these programmes and projects will accrue directly to the individual households, thereby raising their standards of living.