The agricultural sector has been one of the pillars to the economy of Zimbabwe with the responsibility of ensuring food security to the nation at large. The impact of the sector cannot be ignored as it also affects the Gross Domestic Product of the country as it offers jobs. In the count down to the Harare Agricultural Show that will be taking place from the 21st to the 26th of August this year, it is essential to have a look at progress and the future of agriculture in the country.
On the progress of the agricultural sector, the country managed to have a bumper harvest after the good rains that were received by the nation.The government has given credit of good harvests to the command agriculture. Zimbabwe’s economy is expected to grow by 2.8 per cent this year from 0.7 per cent in 2016 mainly due to bumper maize harvests according to the World Bank.
Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) statistics showed that farmers had sold tobacco worth US$244.7 m and 29 per cent increase from US$189.7 per cent during the same period last year. Production of the gold leaf had also risen from 66.8 m kg last year to 87.9 m kg as at day 32.
Production of cotton, a key crop, is estimated at 125 000 tonnes, compared to 36 000 tonnes in 2016 according to the Food Agricultural Organisation (FAO).
The Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) chairman Tafadzwa Musarara projects winter wheat production to reach over 200 000 tonnes from 10 000 tonnes.
“Total cereal production in 2017 is forecast at 2.5 million tonnes, with a significant increase in sorghum production also contributing to this year’s improved performance. Good weather conditions and the continuation of free input distribution through the Government’s support programme are the main drivers behind this year’s growth,” states the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
However, soya beans production this year fell by 25 per cent from 47 832 thousand tonnes to 35 744 thousand tonnes this year according to the Herald.When it comes to the future development the Zimbabwean government is expected to continue with the command agriculture with the help of the private sector promoting mechanisation and irrigation schemes.
The government is also expecting to rebuild the national herd from 5.5 million to 5.8 million by the end of the year. With such plans and progress witnessed so far, it is a question to answer with time whether the country is going to continue with the progress that it has made in the agricultural sector.