Bud­get sup­ports small­holder hor­ti­cul­tur­ists

The Manica Post - - Business - Se­nior Busi­ness Re­porter

GOV­ERN­MENT has plans to fund and co-or­di­nate ex­ten­sion sup­port to­wards hor­ti­cul­ture pro­duc­ers in a bid to in­crease pro­duc­tion from 2018.

The pro­gramme, which will tar­get com­mer­cial and small­holder pro­duc­ers, will see iden­ti­fied farm­ers re­ceive sup­port in the form of fi­nan­cial and ex­ten­sion ser­vices.

This was re­vealed by Fi­nance and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Pa­trick Chi­na­masa in his 2018 Na­tional Bud­get pre­sen­ta­tion last week.

“Some of th­ese farm­ers would be re­quir­ing re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and ex­pan­sion of ir­ri­ga­tion in­fra­struc­ture, ac­cess to han­dling tech­nolo­gies, mar­ket ac­cess, fi­nan­cial ser­vices and ca­pac­ity build­ing. Par­tic­i­pat­ing farm­ers will largely be drawn from both the com­mer­cial and small­holder farm­ing com­mu­ni­ties, with the pro­gramme an­chored on com­mer­cial farm­ers with ex­per­tise in hor­ti­cul­ture pro­duc­tion,” he said.

Min­is­ter Chi­na­masa said small­holder farm­ers would par­tic­i­pate as out grow­ers.

“This in­ter­ven­tion will pro­vide us with new op­por­tu­ni­ties to eco­nom­i­cally em­power farm­ers, par­tic­u­larly small­holder ones, cre­ate em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties, as well as earn for­eign cur­rency,” said Min­is­ter Chi­na­masa.

Agri­cul­ture is es­ti­mated to grow by 15,9 per­cent in 2017, on the back of Gov­ern­ment co­or­di­nated in­ter­ven­tions in part­ner­ship with the pri­vate sec­tor and the growth is ex­pected to be sup­ported by the ex­panded Com­mand Agri­cul­ture pro­gramme, which now in­cludes soy­abeans and live­stock pro­duc­tion.

The move is likely to be wel­come by hor­ti­cul­ture pro­duc­ers in Man­i­ca­land who have in the past con­trib­uted prob­a­bly the largest share of hor­ti­cul­ture prod­ucts on the mar­ket.

How­ever, the in­dus­try has been be­dev­illed by nu­mer­ous chal­lenges over the past years, which have been ex­ac­er­bated by the in­flux of cheap im­ports that have nearly an­ni­hi­lated the in­dus­try.

Zim­babwe Na­tional Cham­ber of Com­merce (ZNCC) deputy pres­i­dent for Man­i­ca­land Mr Ken­neth Saruchera last month said the re­vival of the hor­ti­cul­ture in­dus­try could an­chor the growth of in­dus­tries in the re­gion.

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