Agriculture gets bulk of ZWL$18 billion Covid-19 stimulus package

The country’s agricultural sector has received the largest chunk of the government’s ZWL$18 billion Covid-19 stimulus package, a recent report by Finance and Economic Development Minister, Mthuli Ncube, indicates.

In an address to the nation, President Emmerson Mnangagwa in May announced the ZWL$18 billion to be extended to various sectors of the country’s ailing economy as part of measures by the government to cushion businesses from the devastating impact of the pandemic.

In his latest report entitled: “Progress on Economic and Structural Reforms in Zimbabwe” Ncube said a total of ZWL$6.1 billion was extended to agriculture sector support.

After agriculture, a total of ZWL$ 3 billion went towards the working capital fund for industry.

“Prioritised agriculture programmes guided by the agriculture recovery plan, priority is on productivity through mechanisation, livestock production, irrigation, soil conditioning, extension services and appropriate and timely financing,” said Ncube.

He said progress on reforms in agriculture saw the replacement of Command Agriculture with private sector funded smart agriculture.

Part of the reforms, Ncube said, culminated into the completion of the land audit, progress being registered in farms downsizing and the signing of the Global Compensation Deed.

The country’s purse holder said under the conservation farming programme (Pfumvudza) 1.8 million farmers have been trained, while some irrigation schemes are being revived.

“The impact of the pandemic is being transmitted through lower commodity demand and international commodity prices; reduced tourist arrivals due to travel restrictions; disruption of global supply chains for both raw materials and final products and services; slowing down of global financial flows including credit availability, remittances and portfolio investments; currency volatility; and high inflation,” further said Ncube.

He added that the government’s interventions in mitigating the impact Covid-19, apart from the stimulus package for productive sectors also included the unfreezing of medical staff posts, budget reallocation, expenditure cuts from less priority areas, support to line ministries and social protection.

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