Zim Needs Smart Agriculture Sector Growth Strategy: UN Expert

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By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent

THE country needs a disaggregated agricultural development plan across all sub-sectors to ensure enhanced private sector participation.

United Nations specialised agency, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) agro-food systems investments and policy support specialist, Roy Machoko said Zimbabwe was failing to attract meaningful investment in various economic sectors due to lack of blueprints that guarantee returns for investors.

The nation targets to attain a US$8 billion agricultural economy by year 2025.

Machoko, who was speaking at the Zimbabwe Agriculture Investment Plan (ZAIP) 2 consultative workshop held in Chinhoyi last week, said the first cycle of the envisaged government plan did not yield desired results.

Machoko said: “ZAIP 1 which ran from 2017 and expires this year failed to make a meaningful impact in regards the agricultural and food systems transformation agenda. The strategy failed because it was not smart, it lacked precision and details on how the country sought to achieve that desired growth.

“Figures and postulations were just thrown around without saying how we intended to do it. FAO is supporting government to do smart instruments and spatial planning.”

He said provinces such as Mashonaland West must harness potential in agriculture value chains, with government playing the facilitative role.

Countries are being encouraged to plan in line with the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), which is Africa’s policy framework for agricultural transformation, wealth creation, food security and nutrition, economic growth and prosperity for all.

Agriculture ministry deputy director Gutsa said agriculture determines levels or livelihoods and disposable incomes, hence need to develop the sector.

Formulation of ZAIP 2, he said, would identify province-specific investment priorities to develop key commodities and markets.

Gutsa said the country registered a 36,2 percent agricultural sector growth in 2021 and needs to maintain and sustain the trajectory in pursuit of Vision 2030 to attain an upper middle income economy.

In 2003, Maputo, Mozambique, the African Union (AU) Summit made the first declaration on CAADP as an integral part of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).