ARDA to set up agro-processing plants to accelerate rural development


Bulawayo (New Ziana)-In an effort to boost agricultural productivity in the communal areas, the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (Arda) will soon set up agro-processing plants in villages across the country.

Arda Board chairman Ivan Craig said the move is also expected to uplift the livelihoods of rural folks.

Under its economic blueprint the National Development Strategy (NDS1), the Second Republic is targeting to develop rural areas, which were neglected by the colonial government through achieving a US$8.2 billion agriculture industry economy, contributing 20 percent of Gross Domestic Product by 2025.

“Establishing processing plants will enable farmers to attract export markets as well as boost productivity. This will in turn uplift their standards of living,” said Craig during an interview with New Ziana.

He said ARDA is currently working on 431 irrigation schemes which are going to house village gardens with fruit trees, fisheries, and horticulture.

“We are currently working with 431 irrigation schemes across the country and all these projects which are taking place in the rural areas need agro-processing plants,” he said, adding they want to add value to raw agricultural products by processing them into finished goods.”

Craig said finished goods have a longer shelf life and are easy to market locally, regionally and internationally.

He said agro-industries are essential to ensure food security and reduce the wastage of agricultural produce.

“These agro-based industries will play a critical role in the diversification of the economy, as they will provide a range of products that can be exported,” he explained.

The agro-based industries will play a pivotal role in developing the agricultural sector which is the mainstay of the economy, said Craig, adding they will also provide a source of income for farmers and contribute to the overall growth of the economy.

New Ziana

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