Climate smart agriculture is set to be scaled up through the introduction of the Presidential Rural Horticulture Scheme and Presidential Poultry Production to promote food self-sufficiency, supply export markets and improve earnings for smallholder farmers.
Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister, Dr Anxious Masuka, speaking on climate smart agriculture and agricultural research at the Zimbabwe National Defence University yesterday, said the Presidential Rural Horticulture Scheme will see 1,8 million households getting free 10 fruit trees each, and is the biggest climate smart agriculture intervention since 1980.
The scheme will promote value addition and processing in the rural areas, thereby creating employment opportunities.
“The Presidential Rural Horticulture Scheme is a game-changer,” said Minister Masuka.
“It would transform rural lives. For Vision 2030 to be attained, the focus ought to be on the transformation of rural areas. 1,8 million rural households each with 10 trees by 2030, each household getting an additional US$600 to US$1 000 out of the sale of fruit trees.
“We are defining ecological boundaries of the 10 selected tree types. For instance, if Mashonaland East is for mangoes, each household will be able to get two trees per year for a five-year period to 2025 and almost of similar varieties which should mature and be harvested at the same time, which means aggregation centres must be established for that particular window in order to harvest, that value addition and beneficiation can take place and rural economy can begin to mushroom.”
Minister Masuka said the planting of fruit trees was going to boost carbon restoration.
“We are looking at how we can link to the global environmental facility as one of those countries who would have succeeded in ensuring we slow down climate change through smart agriculture interventions, he said.
The Presidential Rural Poultry Scheme envisaged that 1,8 million rural households would receive 10 free range chickens each.
The scheme is targeted at boosting food self-sufficiency and export markets. The indigenous chickens are adapted to the environment.
“Zimbabwe will endeavour to supply export markets with chickens coming from the scheme,” said Minister Masuka.
“It’s a climate smart agriculture as these adapt unlike the high-feed demanding bred chickens such as broilers.”
Government has been promoting climate proof agriculture with conservation agriculture, Pfumvudza-Intwasa being one the major projects.