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Resilient agric sector contributes 12pc to GDP – The Herald

Leonard Ncube Senior Reporter

ZIMBABWE has built a resilient agricultural sector that has grown to contribute 12 percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the last few years with plans underway to replicate the Bubi-Lupane Irrigation project countrywide as a model for sustainable development, a Cabinet Minister has said.

Speaking at the inaugural Matabeleland North Diaspora Investment Conference that ended in Lupane on Saturday, Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube said Zimbabwe has done so well under the Second Republic as the country will not run out of cereals, especially maize and wheat.

The two-day conference was organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the Office of the President and Cabinet to identify and showcase investment opportunities in Matabeleland North and link the province to potential investors.

Prof Ncube said the province is rich in mining, tourism, wildlife, and other resources and should contribute more to the economy. He said the country has enough dams to support agriculture.

“Agriculture now contributes 12 percent to GDP, so it’s not a small sector. We have progressed in terms of output in soya beans, maize, and wheat, and we have done so well when it comes to wheat and we have enough to feed ourselves,” Prof Ncube said.

He said for the country to achieve an upper-middle-income economy by 2030, investments from the diaspora are critical.

The economy is agro-based and Government will continue to implement plans according to the National Development Strategy 1.

Prof Ncube said the Bubi-Lupane Irrigation Scheme which is located in Lupane district in Matabeleland North, has stood tall as a model project in the country.

The 200-hectare irrigation scheme was in 2021 identified as a pilot project for an integrated business model to be replicated by 450 irrigation schemes across the country as the Second Republic accelerates rural development and industrialisation.

In September 2021, President Mnangagwa launched the Arda Vision 2030 accelerator model programme at Bubi-Lupane Irrigation Scheme to stimulate rural industrialisation through agricultural development.

Under the model, each district across the country will have 200 hectares under irrigation with the beneficiaries being locals.

The irrigation gets water from Bubi-Lupane Dam, a 40 million cubic meter water facility that also supplies domestic and industrial water to Lupane town as well as Lupane State University and surrounding communities.

“We have developed an entire area where we are growing wheat. Who knew that wheat could come from a semi-arid area like Lupane? They are also doing maize and soya beans and what is interesting is the development model where we have made sure that the local community are shareholders in the project, earning wages and also getting dividends,” said Prof Ncube.

“All households and villages have transformed because domestic incomes are rising. So this is the leading project and is going to be replicated right across the country. We will replicate it in Tugwi-Mukosi, Gwayi-Shangani, Tuli-Manyange in Matabeleland South, Muchekeranwa Dam in Mashonaland East and Marovanyati Dam in Buhera.”

Prof Ncube appealed to investors, particularly locals based outside the country to consider investing in agriculture given that there are numerous rebates for those that develop infrastructure such as drilling boreholes and fencing around projects.

“Matabeleland North has numerous resources which we believe investors will find exciting and will contribute to the development of our economy,” he said.

Speaking at the same event, Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Richard Moyo said the province is endowed with rich soils for both crop and livestock farming.

“The fact that the province gathered for the conference where all local authorities presented to unpack the investment opportunities and various economic activities from all the seven districts in the province dovetails with the Second Republic Vision for an upper middle-income society by the year 2030 being spearheaded through the implementation of the National Development Strategy (NDS1),” he said.

Minister Moyo also reiterated the call for diasporans to explore investment opportunities in the province.

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Breaking news – Chronicle

Delegates arrive for climate change Indaba (COP28) in Dubai

Leonard Ncube in the United Arab Emirates

 DELEGATES have started trickling into the Dubai Expo Centre for the 28th Conference of parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) that is starting today until 12 December 2023.

The Zimbabwe pavilion is set and ministers are expected to visit the venue. Zimbabwe is taking strides in climate action for a green future. This is in line with the country’s Vision 2030 for an upper-middle-income economy by 2030 through people-centric, participatory development and climate action programmes.

 The country is taking the climate-proofed agriculture model, Pfumvudza/Intwasa to the COP28 to show the world strides made in ensuring sustainable use of land for food nutrition. The country is also driving towards a pro-people, win-win beneficiation and just carbon credits initiatives and attainment of Environmental Sustainability through community-driven conservation models and unlocking community development through devolved sustainable climate economies.

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Roundup: Zimbabwean farmers tackle El Nino draught with diverse … – Xinhua

People deal with harvested wheat at a farm in Chegutu, west of the capital Harare, Zimbabwe, Oct. 31, 2022. (Photo by Shaun Jusa/Xinhua)

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network has already painted a gloomy outlook for the season, saying that the El Nino event would lead to rainfall deficits affecting the 2024 harvests, leaving many people vulnerable to food insecurity.

HARARE, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) — Zimbabwean farmers, especially those dependent on rain-fed agriculture, are increasingly worried about delayed and erratic rains which have disrupted planting for the 2023-24 season in much of the country.

Some of those who had planted early are already counting their losses, with many of them hoping to replant, but this time they prefer short-season varieties if good rains fall soon.

The Southern Africa region as a whole is expected to experience normal to below normal rains this season as a result of the El Nino event, but the delay in rainfalls has thrown many farmers off the rails.

Urban farmer Christopher Chizinga said his maize crop, planted on a wetland northwest of the city, had already failed, and he would be replanting if the rain came soon.

“This season has been terrible. Usually, I would have already finished weeding and applying the first round of top-dressing fertilizer by now, but the heavens have not been kind to us,” he told Xinhua Wednesday.

Echoing Chizinga, Wilson Samaita from Marondera District of Mashonaland East Province, said most of the early planted crops in his fields had wilted and farmers would have to replant.

“It’s very sad. Many of those who planted early intending to take advantage of the first rains will have to replant,” he said.

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network has already painted a gloomy outlook for the season, saying that the El Nino event would lead to rainfall deficits affecting the 2024 harvests, leaving many people vulnerable to food insecurity.

Zimbabwe Farmers Union Secretary General Paul Zakariya said that timely and area-specific weather forecast information is critical for farmers to plan with agility. He also suggested farmers diversify their crops and incorporate local varieties of drought-tolerant species, such as adding sorghum and millet to maize and adding sunflower and groundnuts to soybeans.

Chief agronomist in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Rutendo Nhongonhema, encouraged farmers under the government-initiated climate-proof agriculture program to opt for short-season varieties as the planting season had since advanced.

“My appeal to farmers at the moment is that … to go for short season varieties because the planting season has progressed with no rains,” she told state news agency New Ziana.

In the year 2020, the Government of Zimbabwe unveiled a comprehensive seven-year project valued at 47 million U.S. dollars in collaboration with the Green Climate Fund and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It aims to fortify the climate resilience of marginalized communities in the southern region of Zimbabwe.

As the project rolls out, more than 221,000 farmers, with over half of them being women, have received enhanced strains of cereal crops, including sorghum and pearl millet, to adapt to climate change.

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Vendors facilitate value addition for smallholder farmers – NewsDay

In an interview with paper (NewsDay Farming), BVTA monitoring and evaluation officer Langton Moyo said it was essential for small holder farmers to learn ways to increase profitability in the business.

THE Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) facilitated training of small-holder farmers on value addition and product diversification to help them get more value from their produce.

The training was done at a BVTA workshop where small-holder farmers were equipped with ways to increase the value of their products to attain greater profits.

In an interview with paper (NewsDay Farming), BVTA monitoring and evaluation officer Langton Moyo said it was essential for small holder farmers to learn ways to increase profitability in the business.

“We saw that it was very essential for smallholder farmers to learn all the right skills in order to properly run their businesses to facilitate the attainment of maximum benefits,” Moyo said.

“They were provided with the knowledge and skills needed to increase the value of their products, which can lead to increased profits.”

The workshop was held on the heels of the engagement rate and the area of land prepared for the farming still being relatively low as some farmers wait for an effective start of the rainy season.

The delay is being caused by the anticipation of El Niño-induced below-average rainfall.

Further, crop inputs, mainly seeds and fertilisers, while available on the market these items are priced well above the affordability of farmers.

Hence, farmers are being pushed to maximise the returns on the crops already planted.

One way that is being done, however, is through farmers withholding their grain in anticipation of the El Niño-induced drought to hike the prices of their goods. This is because if there is a shortage of grain, prices will likely rise leading to farmers making a killing off their goods.

Moyo said the value addition training would help smallholder farmers to effectively come up with strategies to ensure survival in the market, amid fluctuating prices.

“Value addition training will help farmers to know ways of diversifying their income streams and reduce their vulnerability to price fluctuations in the market and also by adding value to their products, farmers can reduce post-harvest losses and improve the shelf-life of their products,” Moyo said.

“More so, value addition trainings empowered farmers to be able to make informed decisions about their businesses, leading to long-term sustainability.”

BVTA executive director Michael Ndiweni said small holder farmers were taking up the initiative of being suppliers of fresh produce to the Nkulumane fruit and veg market in Bulawayo.

The project, Ndiweni continued, was being spearheaded by the Local Government and Public Works ministry under the Building Urban Resilience in Zimbabwe through creating Safe Markets and Green Solutions programme.

“Farmers are welcoming the project because it is going to help to deal with a lot disenfranchising that usually happens in private markets where they pricing of their products is not determined by them but by private market owners, therefore, is a public market and at least they will be in control of the pricing of their own goods,” he said.

Farmers are failing get paid timeously for their produce with government vowing to expedite those payments.

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