Agric strategy mustn’t be statement of intent

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PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa on Wednesday launched an ambitious agriculture revival strategy meant to ensure the country becomes a US$8,2 billion farming sector by 2025.

The Agriculture and Food Systems Strategy is part of Mnangagwa’s gigantic plan to create a US$25 billion economy in the next five years.

The dream would be underpinned by the US$8,2 billion farming, US$5 billion tourism and US$12 billion mining sectors.

Strategies to achieve such a behemoth economy have been launched, the latest being the Agriculture and Food Systems policy.

It came on the backcloth of the country grappling with rural and urban food insecurity owing to years of successive droughts caused by the effects of climate change, a situation compounded by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Agriculture contributes 15 to 18 percent of the country’s gross domestic product hence must be undertaken as a serious business.

The country’s economy is mainly agro-based and more emphasis should be placed on properly and appropriately financing the industry.

“I am pleased that this two-pronged occasion comes at the heels of my recent launch of the US$5 billion Tourism strategy in Victoria Falls as well as the US$12 billion mining industry strategy.

“The Agriculture and Food Systems Strategy complements the above and is an integral part of our national development agenda. This is aimed at industrialisation, modernisation and creating a sustainable investment environment for our society.

“The three mutually reinforcing strategies envision the attainment of a US$25 billion economy in the three respective sectors by 2025. This ambitious and yet achievable economic projection enjoins all of us across the economic and social spectrum to be more productive and to work with greater synergies and collaboration,” Mnangagwa said at the launch.

We agree absolutely with Mnangagwa that the country needs to turn around farming if the economy is to be revived. The days of individuals keeping vast tracts of unfarmed arable land as trophies must be over.

The use it or lose it principle must be kicked in. Arable land should never lay fallow given how food insecure the country is.

Mnangagwa and his government should never rejoice in just launching ambitious projects like the late former president Robert Mugabe used to do, but never implemented.

Since 1980, the country had a knack on unveiling solid blueprints that never implemented. They only became statements of intent. That era must be over!

Implementation, implementation and implementation must be the buzz word. Anything short of it, is intolerable and unacceptable!

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