ADRA partners Government on horticulture programme

The Chronicle

Business Reporter

THE National Horticulture Recovery and Growth Plan implementation is gaining momentum with stakeholders from Matabeleland North Province expected to converge tomorrow in Bulawayo on a sensitisation programme.

The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development with the support from the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Zimbabwe are carrying out stakeholder sensitisation meetings on the horticulture recovery.

In 2020, Government launched the recovery plan to stimulate both conventional and rural horticulture production, to accelerate domestic and export horticulture production, productivity and profitability.

It also focuses on value addition to contributing significantly to food security and nutrition, import-substitution, foreign currency generation, employment creation and raising household incomes in pursuit of Vision 2030.

The Rural Horticulture Transformation Plan is anchored on the Presidential Horticulture Scheme, which seeks to create and sustain a US$1,2 billion rural horticulture economy by 2025.

According to the concept paper for the meeting, horticulture presents an opportunity to increase food security, import substitution, enhance exports, increase employment creation, improve the livelihoods of the rural population and raise household incomes.

” The Horticulture Recovery and Growth Plan is opportune and timely, especially as the Government re-engages the international community and seeks to create a more market-based economy, integrated into the global community,” it said.

Zimbabwe has been a major producer and exporter of a variety of horticultural crops driven by favourable climatic conditions, strong farming skills and access to favourable export markets.

The export market destinations were Europe for cut flowers, fruits and vegetables.

The sector used to be the fastest-growing after tobacco in foreign currency earnings. Horticulture exports peaked at US$143 million in the 1990s then declined to US$72 million in 2005 and US$40 million in 2009.

The sector contributed 3.5 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the 1980s and 4.5 per cent in the 1990s.

Production was dominated by large-scale commercial growers who made significant investments in skills development, irrigation infrastructure, handling facilities, export markets development and coordination.

Other sensitisation and awareness meetings are planned for Harare Gwanda, Marondera, Bindura, Chinhoyi, Mutare, Masvingo and Gweru.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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