Horticulture support system for farmers
Charity Chikara, Business Reporter THE Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development has partnered with Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in engineering and seeing through a Rural Horticulture Transformation Plan derived from the Presidential Horticulture Scheme, which seeks to create and sustain a US$1,2 billion rural horticulture Speaking during a horticulture stakeholders meeting in Bulawayo last Thursday, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) National Director Mr Mhlonipheni Ncube said ADRA Zimbabwe, with the support from ADRA Australia and the Australian government through the Australian NGO Co-operation Programme (ANCP), has partnered with the government in the implementation and sensitisation of the Horticultural Recovery and Growth Plan. The project is being done through the ENGAGE Project going under the theme “Making Markets Work for Smallholder Farmers”
“The ADRA Zimbabwe project activities are being implemented in line with the following thematic areas; sustainable development goals-activities guided by the targets 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, agricultural programming, partnership for recover such as the Covid-19 response, gender equity, disability and social inclusion (GEDSI), private sector development and engagement, financial inclusion, climate change and disasters risk reduction such as the activities implemented during Cyclone Idai and indigenous people and ethnic minorities,” he said.
“To achieve this goal, the ADRA Zimbabwe shall be facilitating and promoting the creation of an enabling agriculture policy environment (policy advocacy), market access/linkages, export and trade; food safety standards; value addition and postharvest handling technologies.
ADRA Zimbabwe shall be setting up centres of excellence in Matabeleland North’s Umguza District and Mashonaland East’s Murewa District.
Further the use of Information Communication Technologies in information dissemination by farmer groups will be encouraged together with village lending and savings associations, action around the rights of people with disability and their full inclusion in our project activities, amongst many other attributes,” he said.
In an interview, the acting Director Agricultural Advisory and Rural Development Services Mr Dumisani Nyoni said the horticultural sector used to be a key player in the country’s economy as it largely contributed towards the export markets. He highlighted that the Government, ADRA and many other private players have put in place a plan of action in regard to the rejuvenation of the horticultural sector. “In the past we used to export a lot of horticultural products but that went down significantly due to a number of reasons. Now there is a Government thrust to revamp horticulture looking at the export potential that is there in terms of creating job opportunities, involvement of women and youths in the production value chain, nutrition security, opportunities for value addition. “A matter of importance is also that Government will be drilling boreholes in each village as water supplies for horticultural activities, distribute tree seedlings to increase the area under orchards so that we begin to create the necessary mass that will give opportunity for industrial processing,” he said. ADRA Australia representative, Miss Kate Morrison said horticulture presents an opportunity to increase food security, import substitution, enhance exports, increase employment creation, improve the livelihoods of the rural population especially women, youth and people living with disabilities and raise household incomes.
“With funding the Australian government through Australian Aid, ADRA Australia is happy to support ADRA Zimbabwe to implement ENGAGE Project to empower smallholder farmers. The main beneficiaries are the smallholder farmers. We are prioritising a 60 percent women involvement and people living with disabilities. “We are teaching farmers in climate-smart agricultural techniques, and through capacity building in integrated pest management and safe use of chemicals that will have less impact on the environment and ensure safety standards of produce for consumers.
In a nutshell our aim is to empower farmers to access horticulture markets for better livelihoods”, she said. These development projects are being implemented in Binga, Gokwe, Mbire, Murewa, Mutoko, Umguza and Muzarabani districts.
Sorce from: The Sunday News (May 29, 2022). Horticulture support system for farmers. The Sunday News. https://www.sundaynews.co.zw/horticulture-support-system-for-farmers/