Apart from eliminating food imports that are resulting in a bloated import bill, the government is also targeting 40 percent value addition, to create about 1 million jobs and to increase total exports by 60 percent by the year 2024.
In addition, the government also aims to transform about 18,000 small-scale farmers into agricultural entrepreneurs by the year 2025, Masuka said.
The ambitious targets follow the launch of the Agriculture and Food security system Transformative Strategy (AFTSTS) last year with the aim of accelerating agriculture production, productivity and growth.
Speaking at the official launch of Zimbabwe’s 2021 tobacco marketing season in Harare, Masuka said the agricultural sector is one of the key sectors in Zimbabwe’s quest to achieve an upper-middle-income economy status by 2030.
In the tobacco sector, which is the second foreign currency earner after gold, Masuka said the government has developed a tobacco value addition transformation strategy to create a conducive environment for tobacco growers and the industry at large to boost output.
“This tobacco value chain transformation strategy enables the intensification of tobacco production by enhancing transparency and fair tobacco marketing, reform, restructuring and rebuilding of existing institutions in order to optimize tobacco value chain financing,” he said.
He said the strategy also seeks to promote value addition and to facilitate the production of alternative crops to tobacco to diversify revenues and assure industry sustainability in the face of climate change and anti-tobacco campaigns.
Meanwhile, this year Zimbabwe is anticipating a record maize harvest since the Land Reform Program of the early 2000s, with 2.8 million tonnes expected to be delivered to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB).
Maize production declined significantly over the past years due to disturbances caused by the land reform program, heavily affecting the country’s capacity to meet its grain requirements.
In the 2020/2021 farming season, crop hectarage in the country increased by 23 percent partly driven by abundant rainfall received this season, early distribution of inputs and support of farmers by the government.