With Zimbabwe on its pathway and anchored to become an upper middle-income economy by 2030, the Government is working on numerous empowerment initiatives carefully crafted to transform the agricultural system in rural setups and encourage farmers to engage in farming as a business.
Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Dr Anxious Masuka said agricultural development will lead to rural industrialisation thus the attainment of Vision 2030.
Masuka said the Government is working on developing 35 000 rural business units that will stimulate and drive this vision, working simultaneously with the rural development 8.0 programme.
He said this at the World Cotton Day Conference in Harare on Thursday which was hosted by the largest cotton producing company in Zimbabwe, Cottco.
“Agricultural development will lead to rural industrialisation and this would catalyse the attainment of vision 2030. So there is a very strong nexus between agricultural development, rural industrialisation, and rural development, to attain Vision 2030.
“Rural development 8.0, a cocktail of outcome-based and impact-oriented Presidential interventions meant to uplift 9,1 million Zimbabweans, which is 62 percent of the population out of poverty towards vision 2030,” he said.
The Rural Development 8,0 policy has different components which include the Presidential Input Programme — Pfumvudza/Intwasa, Presidential Input Programme for Cotton, and Presidential Rural Development among others.
“We are in the process of resuming the agriculture and food systems transformation strategy developed by the President in August 2020 and this will be part of the rural transformation strategy.
“Rural transformation is at the core of the President’s legacy and we will be hearing more as we establish 35 000 business units, one in each village, as we establish 4 800 youth business units, 2 in each ward and as we establish 9 600 school business units with one at each school,” said Masuka.
“Vision 2030 lies on the land. The question is how do we ensure that young children are inducted into agriculture? We want to make sure that every learner has an opportunity to see agriculture as a business,” he said
Masuka said of the seven established school garden businesses, each one of them generates an income of up to US$2 800 a month.
“The school garden ceases to be a school garden and becomes a business. Of the 7 that we have established so far, each one of them is generating approximately in the region of US$1 000 to US$2 800 equivalent a month.
So now the school has a source of revenue and there is also the school feeding programme where they will no longer need to purchase things from elsewhere,” he said.
The 2023 World Cotton Day theme was “Making sustainable cotton fair for all, from farm to fashion”.
Masuka also said; “This year’s theme rhymes with the government’s thrust, confocal with the President’s view of what Zimbabwe ought to become in 2030, that is to become a prosperous and empowered upper middle-income society.
“In that regard, Agriculture is at the epicentre of the transformation of communities for the attainment of Vision 2030. 9,1 million Zimbabweans daily earn their living from agriculture, 62 percent of the population. So it is agriculture that is going to empower them out of poverty.
“With the persuasion from the agricultural sector, the Government plays different roles in a developmental mode.
‘‘The first one, the government must be a very strong facilitator for the private sector business and as the private sector comes on board the government will improve its efforts of facilitation.
The Government will continue being an actor in the cotton sector through Cottco, and this is why the Government is increasing its shareholding in Cottco,”he said.