Agriculture is expected to rebound and achieve a growth rate of 10,3 percent, contributing to the overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rate of 4,6 percent, a senior Government official has said.
Speaking at the official opening of the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) Strategic Planning Workshop in Harare yesterday, the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement, Minister Perrance Shiri, who was represented by his deputy Douglas Karoro, said Government opened more doors to private sector participation that should help boost agriculture production and achieve targets.
Government still maintained the maize and wheat production targets of 2,5 million tonnes and 400 000 tonnes respectively that were set last year. However, these targets were not achieved in the 2018/19 season because of the El Nino induced drought experienced. Government has indicated that the country needs to import 800 000 tonnes of maize to meet national demand for human consumption and animal feed.
"Under the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP), maize production is targeted to increase to 2,5 million tonnes while wheat production is targeted to reach 400 000 tonnes by 2020. GMB must therefore, be prepared to support the increased production to minimise post-harvest losses. This target may have been dented by El Nino induced drought experienced during the previous cropping season, but Government has maintained the maize and wheat production targets and continues to do so. To achieve these production figures, the Government is now promoting participation by private sector in financing agriculture. Furthermore, it is spearheading investment in irrigation infrastructure and mechanisation of agricultural production to achieve increased productivity.
"These initiatives will require a GMB that is ready to meet the challenge," Minister Shiri said.
He applauded the GMB for continuing to play a special role in ensuring household food security through participation in Government Inputs distribution to vulnerable members of society under the social safety net programmes.