Zimbabwe: Agric Crucial to Economic Recovery

The World Bank says Zimbabwe's road to economic recovery will depend on favourable rainfall, which has implications for the success or failure of the agricultural sector.

The country depends on agro-based economy and the current drought has deepened an economic crisis characterised by runaway inflation and prolonged power cuts.

The power cuts, worsened by the heavily depleted water levels at Lake Kariba, are the culmination of decades of non-investment in the energy sector by the government.

More than 150 meteorologists from across southern Africa, who met for the 23rd Southern African Regional Climate Forum (SARCOF-23) in Angola last week,

announced in a communique last Friday that normal rains are expected between October and December this year.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Cyclone Idai Recovery Projects launch this week in Harare, World Bank country manager Mukami Kariuki said many people's

livelihood in the country are derived from agriculture, and the current economic situation in the country would improve if there is good rainfall this season.

"80% of people's livelihood are derived from the agricultural sector, so when agriculture does badly, most people's livelihood would be affected to some

extent.

"The projections on rainfall patterns are going to be critical in establishing whether there are to be good rains and that will allow the economy to grow

because this is an economy that is largely agricultural," Kariuki said.

"The support that will be coming from both government and development partners for the next agricultural season will be critical."

She added that government needs to put more emphasis on its Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) to help the recovery of the economy and boost the

agricultural sector.

"In general, things seem to be taking course in terms of what the government has laid out in the TSP," she said.

"These are hard measures that are being undertaken and need to be given some time to work, but I think the steps that have been taken do lay a foundation and

what is necessary now is to try to match the foundational steps with some actions to help the growth and recovery of the economy to happen. That is why I'm

emphasising the agriculture sector being critical to setting the pace for next year," Kariuki said.

Agriculture deputy minister Douglas Karoro told businessdigest there will be increased productivity in the agricultural sector that will boost the economy,

given that the Meteorological Services Department is forecasting good rains this season.

"A normal to above normal rainfall season is likely to guarantee enhanced productivity. Our economy is agro-based, meaning to say that once our agricultural

sector performs well, we are likely to see other sectors of the economy doing well," he said.

He said the use of local raw materials will be favourable to agro-based industries, thus improving productivity.

"Agro-based industries will get their raw materials locally and this will hugely cut operational costs. Enhanced industrial productivity due to availability of

local raw materials may impact positively on reduction of prices of basic commodities. Reopening of industry will boost employment creation in the economy,"

Karoro said.

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