Source: Call to boost agric share of GDP | The Herald November 30, 2018
Zimbabwe should strive to increase agriculture’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to between 16 and 20 percent as the sector is vital to the country’s economic recovery, a Government official has said.
Officiating at a strategic planning workshop held in Mutare, Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Minister Parrence Shiri said in coming up with a strategy for the next five years, stakeholders needed to be evidence based, technologically aware and cognisant of regional and international frameworks and developments in the agricultural sector.
“We must strive and commit ourselves towards creating conducive conditions in which the agricultural industry can prosper,” he said.
“The industry should be geared towards contributing between 16 and 20 percent of the Gross Domestic Product and 40 percent to exports while providing a solid source of livelihood to 67 percent of the country’s populace.”
Minister Shiri said the Second Republic was guided by Vision 2030 and the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) and that the whole nation was looking up to his ministry to make significant contribution towards the much anticipated turnaround of the economy.
“It is important to note that food and agriculture have a decisive role to play in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, especially in ending hunger and poverty, preserving natural resources, combating climate change and its effects and building inclusive, fair and peaceful societies,” he said.
“The key to attaining these goals lies with Government ministries and how they steer public policy and frameworks towards creating a conducive environment to enable all players to participate to their full potential.”
Minister Shiri said parastatals that fall under his ministry should pull up their weight and start contributing to the GDP and declaring dividends.
“Parastatals used to contribute 40 percent of the country’s GDP,” he said. “The role of parastatals in our economy need not be overemphasised. I expect parastatals under my ministry to positively contribute to the GDP and declare dividends.
“Some parastatals are only able to pay their staff salaries and contribute nothing to the fiscus. Going forward this will not be tolerated.”
Meanwhile, irrigation schemes in Manicaland are set to get another lifeline after Government, through the District Development Fund (DDF), committed funds towards the resuscitation of projects under the National Accelerated Irrigation Rehabilitation and Development Programme.
Under the programme, DDF is expected to revamp 2 000 hectares of irrigable land per year in each district.
Manicaland DDF provincial head Mr Robert Chawatama said they revamped irrigation schemes in Cashel Valley, Chimanimani and Nyamajura in Mutasa district.
Mr Chawatama said the rehabilitation of the irrigation schemes was nearing completion.
“We are hoping to have more projects next year as this year we have already done Nyamajura and Cashel Valley. Our thrust is to cover about 2 000ha per district per year,” he said.
In Cashel Valley, DDF has since developed 386 hectares of irrigable land occupied by 381 families who use the flood irrigation system.
According to DDF, the Cashel Valley project was allocated $1 430 000 which also saw the drilling and installation of three new boreholes for potable water.