Zimbabwe: Arda Under Transformation – allAfrica.com

The Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) is being transformed to become a key agent in steering rural agricultural development to engender rural transformation that is key in making Zimbabwe an upper middle income economy by 2030.

Speaking at an ARDA workshop in Masvingo yesterday, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Anxious Masuka said ARDA’s work would entail rural industrialisation powered by agriculture.

Dr Masuka said ARDA was the food, fibre and bio-fuel security agent of the nation ahead of 2030.

Government wanted ARDA to grow the total areas under crops at its 21 estates around the country from the current 13 000ha to 88 000ha within the next three years, he said.

ARDA’s land-holding portfolio straddles 142 000ha at all its estates and Government wants the combined 88 000ha that is arable to be under different crops to consolidate revival of the agricultural sector.

Dr Masuka said as a vehicle for food, fibres and bio-fuel security, ARDA had potential to contribute 500 000 tonnes of cereals annually, 50 000 tonnes of fibre and a whopping 250 million litres of ethanol.

The authority was also key in engendering rural development and industrialisation through joint ventures with small scale private farmers and other investors.

Under the old dispensation, most ARDA estates around the country were idle and underutilised owing to years of neglect and lack of investment, but the authority’s fortunes have since taken a new trajectory and is awakening from slumber since the advent of the Second Republic.