Zimbabwe urged to accelerate adaptation to climate-smart agriculture to boost economic growth

HARARE, ZIMBABWE - AUGUST 01: Wheat is sprayed with fertilizer at Ivordale Farm on August 1, 2018 outside Harare, Zimbabwe. Commercial farmer Andrew Pascoe runs the 330-hectare farm east of Harare. His father started the business in the 1950’s. The farm grows wheat mostly, maize and Soya Beans, with a dairy herd of 170 cows, a further 280 for beef, plus a piggery with 1200 animals. Before the land reform ‘initiative’, Mr Pascoe owned 1725 Hectares but was left with only 224, only 60 of which that was arable. He currently runs the 60 hectares of his own land, with the rest falling under a ‘joint venture’ program.. In 2000 the then President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, ran a land reform program that aimed to redistribute the farm land mostly owned by white Zimbabweans, to black subsistence farmers. The policy was seen as a disaster, with around 4000 white farmers forcibly removed from their farms, often violently. The policy crippled the agricultural sector and subsequently contributed to the collapse of the economy as those that took over the land lacked the knowledge to run the businesses. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
HARARE, ZIMBABWE – AUGUST 01: Wheat is sprayed with fertilizer at Ivordale Farm on August 1, 2018 outside Harare, Zimbabwe. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Zimbabwe has been urged to accelerate adaptation to climate-smart agriculture in order to boost economic growth.

Speaking at a webinar on Investment Priorities for Climate-Smart Agriculture in Zimbabwe on Wednesday, World Bank country manager for Zimbabwe Mukami Kariuki said climate change is one of the major challenges impacting agriculture production in Zimbabwe.

“Without effective adaptation, the impacts of climate change on the sector could cause a massive reduction in agricultural production and significant damage to Zimbabwe’s economy at large,” said Kariuki.

She said climate-smart agricultural investments and policy actions are central to building a resilient agricultural sector.

Agriculture is the mainstay of Zimbabwe’s economy, contributing up to 18 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. The sector provides employment and income to more than 60 percent of the country’s population, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization.

To help the country with adaptation, the World Bank has provided technical support to the Zimbabwe government to develop a Climate Smart Agriculture Investment Plan and a Public Expenditure Review on Agriculture.

Speaking at the same event, Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Minister Anxious Masuka said Zimbabwe is already pursuing a selection of climate-smart agriculture adaptations through Pfumvudza which includes conservation agriculture practices such as zero tillage, crop rotation and mulching.

“Improving the productivity of the sector goes hand in hand with creating an enabling environment in relation to poverty and gender issues, water access and land tenure security.

“Addressing these foundational issues is necessary to move to a more productive, resilient and low emissions agriculture sector that benefits millions of farmers,” he said.

In August, Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa launched a new agriculture and food systems transformation strategy which seeks to achieve an 8.2 billion U.S. dollar agriculture industry by 2025.