Zimbabwe: Agric Boom Spurs Economic Recovery – Sector Grows 34 Percent On Bumper Harvest

Zimbabwean farmers did so well with the last harvest that the agricultural sector is now expected to grow 34 percent this year, more than three times the 11 percent initially projected in the budget at the end of last year.

This huge jump in production is propelling total economic growth and is one of the main factors for the new estimate of 7,8 percent economic growth this year by Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube in his Mid-Term Budget and Economic Review given on Thursday last week.

This larger-than-expected jump in production was driven by better harvests of maize, groundnuts, and sorghum and those in turn came from a combination of a good rainfall season, supported by adequate planning and preparation in a range of Government-programmes well before the season started ensuring that farmers had adequate inputs on time.

“The Meteorological Services Department records indicate that the country largely received normal to above normal rainfall during the past season, with even distribution in space and time,” the minister said.

That had been backed by Government measures launched before the rains started, such as Pfumvudza/Intwasa conservation scheme, Presidential Input Scheme, National Enhanced Crop Productivity Scheme (known better as Command Agriculture), more irrigation, the Livestock Growth Plan and the farm mechanisation programme, which all contributed to the better harvests.

Those measures led to the initial predications of a minimum of 11 percent growth, and the decent rains and better use of the inputs meant the farmers increased the value of their production by more than a third.