By Dumisani Dlodlo
An economic boom in rural Zimbabwe is anticipated following the approval of the US$2 billion Horticulture Recovery Plan, which is targeting 1.8 million rural households under the Presidential Horticulture Scheme besides the traditional private sector-led conventional horticulture.
The plan envisages the realisation of a US$1.217 billion annual rural horticulture economy by 2025, growing to US$3.5 billion by 2030, that would be equivalent to income amounting to US$675 and US$2 000 per household by 2025 and 2030, respectively.
The horticulture recovery plan is part of Government initiatives under Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy (2020-2025) to transform agriculture from a US$5.2 billion to a US$8.2 billion sector, contributing 20 per cent of GDP by 2025 in line with the vision of making Zimbabwe an upper-middle-income country by 2030.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Minister Monica Mutsvangwa, said after yesterday’s Cabinet meeting that the Presidential Horticulture Scheme will cost US$186 920 000 and cover 1.8 million rural households.
“The Presidential Horticulture Scheme will have the following components: household tree planting; village nutrition gardens; ward-based youth vegetable and horticulture gardens and orchards; schools vegetables and horticulture projects; mainstreaming indigenous vegetables and fruits; research, development and innovation in production, processing and value addition and beneficiation; and domestic and export market development.
“Over 25 000 boreholes will be sunk in all villages and schools to ensure viability and anchor sustainability, and to climate-proof the Presidential Horticulture Scheme,” Minister Mutsvangwa said.
She added: “It is envisaged that by 2025, a vibrant rural agro-industry would have been established alongside a rejuvenated conventional horticulture sub-sector. Furthermore, it is projected that altogether a US$1.217 billion annual rural horticulture economy will be created by 2025, growing to US$3.5 billion by 2030.
“This will be equivalent to income amounting to US$675 and US$2 000 per household by 2025 and 2030, respectively. On the other hand, the export market from conventional horticulture growth will generate upwards of US$1.469 billion annually, from 2025 onwards, with additional exports being generated from the Presidential Horticulture Scheme.”
The implementation of the Plan will be championed through the Horticulture Development Council (HDC), while the Presidential Horticulture Scheme will be co-ordinated by an inter-ministerial Task Force. Both will be aligned to the National Horticulture Working Group (NHWG).
The HDC comprises horticulture commodity associations essential in the production and marketing of the respective commodities.
The NHWG is a multi-stakeholder co-ordination platform that brings together all horticulture value chain players with all Government Ministries involved in the sector represented.
In addition, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe, the HDC, ARDA, ZIMTRADE, exporters, and eminent professionals drawn from the industry.
The National Horticulture Working Group will oversee implementation of the plan, supported by thematic working groups.