WASHINGTON DC —
As Zimbabwe moves to revive its agricultural sector, the country’s new farmers continue to face challenges that include access to capital, lack of adequate machinery and climate change.
In a move meant to revive the sector, in 2010 the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), launched the Zimbabwe Agricultural Income and Employment Development Program (ZIM-AIED), aimed at increasing the incomes of rural households through commercialization of small-scale farming.
The program was also designed to generate new employment in agriculture and increasing the production of both food and cash crops. Three years later, more than 90,000 rural households have benefited under the five-year program.
ZIM-AIED runs a $10 million revolving credit facility called Agritrade geared towards reviving the agricultural sector. The facility aims to ensure that farmers and agribusinesses have access to credit following serious liquidity constraints in Zimbabwe.
VOA reporter Tatenda Gumbo spoke to lawmaker and chairman of the parliamentary agriculture committee, Moses Jiri, and agronomist Thomas Nherera about the current state of the agricultural sector in the country.
Mr. Nherera said the sector, though on the mend, still faces some serious challenges.
He said currently Zimbabwe faces challenges due to harsh climate conditions affecting farmer productions.
Meanwhile, a report addressing Africa’s food and nutrition crisis offers smallholder farmers in Africa, by an international group of agricultural experts based in London, offered a unique and simple way of producing more food sustainably while also preserving the environment.
The report entitled, “Sustainable Intensification: A time to rethink Africa” based on research conducted by The Montpellier Panel, provided examples of successful projects, where the group along with local farmers, used innovative thinking to produce more food for a longer period of time, and at a lower cost to them.