Agriculture reaches GDP contribution target 2 years ahead of schedule


Harare (New Ziana) –The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement is set to reach its target of contributing US$8.5 billion to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2025 under the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) two years ahead of time.

Agriculture contributes between 15 to 20 percent to the national GDP and the Ministry was tasked to grow its contribution to US$8.2 billion by 2025 from US$5.8 billion but has since hit US$8.1 billion.

Permanent secretary Dr John Basera, who attributed the achievement to all farmers in the country as the agents of agricultural transformation, said this during a field tour of pastures by dairy farmers at the Agricultural Research Council facility in Pomona, about 20 kilometers northeast of the capital.

He said as a result, President Emmerson Mnangagwa was going to set a new target for the Ministry and hinted at US$10 billion as the likely new figure.

“Over the past three years we have seen some incredible growth in terms of our agriculture from about US$5.8 billion to about US$8.1 billion. Our farmers did it. The target was US$8.2 billion by 2025. Our agriculture grew by 36 percent. The country is food secure. In terms of wheat we are one of the two African countries that are flour and wheat self-sufficient with Ethiopia being the other,” he said.

The tobacco sector had also seen incredible growth from 259 million kg in 2019 to the current 267 million kg. At the same time, total export earnings rose from US$764 million to the current US$991 million while the country has reached surplus in cereals after achieving 3 million tons against national demand of about 2.2 million tonnes.

In the livestock sector, Dr Basera said the country had managed to register some growth after bringing the January disease which decimated the national herd under control.

He said the country lost about 500 000 herd to January disease since the 2018/2019 season but the herd is now growing at the rate of 2 to 3 percent per year since 2020 after government interventions that helped arrest the mortality.

These included the Presidential tick grease programme and intensive dipping which helped to reduce January disease cases by 47 percent in 2020, going down to 37 percent in 2021/2022. This in turn helped reduce mortality as a result of the tick-borne disease from 11 percent in 2020 to around 8.8 percent the following year and 6 percent last year.

“So we are going for growth in that respect and in terms of our national herd. Our target by 2025 is to achieve a US$2 billion livestock economy and we are in a good position to achieve that. Prior to 2020 we were around US$1billion, now we are around US$1.5 billion,” said Dr Basera.

“Our target has been reviewed because we have already achieved the US$8.2 billion agricultural economy. So we made a big mistake in a good way and now the expectation bar is very high. Everybody is now expecting you to achieve a US$10 billion agricultural economy.”

Dr Basera, whose Ministry was voted the best performing last year, implored the dairy farmers to try everything in their power to ensure that milk production reaches 105 million litres this year to ensure the Ministry gets another gong this year.

New Ziana

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