Zimbabwe’s agriculture sector is set for a 12 percent growth, boosted by the successes recorded through government’s command agriculture and the presidential Input Support scheme, President Robert Mugabe has said.
In his Independence address at the National Sports Stadium on Tuesday, Mugabe said, despite the incessant rains which recently hit the country and causing floods in low lying areas, the agriculture sector remains on course to achieve a remarkable growth.
He said as part of government’s efforts to resuscitate the ailing economy, a number of programs have been lined up with special attention being given to the agriculture sector.
“The agricultural intervention program we embarked upon in 2016 is another case in point of our efforts since Independence, where we have put in place a number of programs that are targeted at transforming sustenance and revitalisation of our country’s economy.
“Command agriculture which targets farmers who have irrigation facilities and the presidential input support program, which subsidies inputs for our small-scale and peasant farmers, so they could speedily recover from the 2015-2016 drought are evident of that efforts that we are undertaking to bring the economy on its knees again.
“Consequently, the agriculture sector is now going to grow by the projected figure of 12%,” said Mugabe.
He said despite the heavy and incessant rains received last year which resulted in severe flooding, his government was happy for it was a welcome relief as the country had dried up owing to the El Nino induced drought in the summer of 2015.
Turning to the mining sector, Mugabe said it remains a critical sector to the Zimbabwean economy as it is it contributed 50% of exports and 16% of the country’s 2016 Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“There is a lot of work which is going on in the sector, not least the re-organisation whose completion we impatiently await.
“Going forward, much is expected from this overall development vision we have. I am happy our small scale producers are working hard and selling their output lawfully, through designated national channels,” Mugabe added.
He further said the manufacturing will also benefit from policies which the government is working on.
“Measures such as imports, investment approvals, fiscal incentives and the Buy Zimbabwe initiative are some of the policies we are working on in an effort to come up with a sector that can sustain the economy,” said Mugabe.
He added that these efforts have resulted in an increase in the manufacturing sector capacity utilization from 34.3% recorded in 2015 to 47.4% in 2016.
President Mugabe also spoke on the anticipated growth of the tourism sector and small to medium enterprises (SMEs) sector.
“SMEs play a very important role in economic growth and employment creation. In view of this, Government created a conducive environment for SMEs to shine,” President Mugabe.
On the energy sector, The President said efforts are being made to add two units in Kariba to the national power grid, a development expected to boost electricity generation to 78%.
“We all should be pleased that since January 2016, the country experienced 15 months without load shedding,” he said adding that uninterrupted power supply is a major boost to the local industry,” Said Mugabe.
This year’s independence was celebrated under the theme: “Zimbabwe @ 37: Embracing Ease of Doing Business for Socio-Economic Development.’