Government launched the National AgriTech Strategy (2021-2025) yesterday, which seeks to transform the agriculture sector and help farmers connect to mainstream markets and industries in a bid to improve their livelihoods.
The National AgriTech Strategy was greatly informed by the 2021 AgriTech Continental Blueprint, the National Development Strategy 1(NDS1), Vision 2030 and Africa Agenda 2063.
The plan will ensure agriculture led economic transformation and also brings to the fore strategies to digitally transform agriculture. It will also introduce measures to close the gender and digital divide and help contribute towards making Zimbabwe an Upper Middle Income Economy by 2030.
In a speech read on his behalf by Deputy Minister Vangelis Haritatos, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Minister Anxious Masuka said the country developed the National AgriTech Strategy to leverage innovations to improve efficiency, effectiveness and reduce costs.
“Zimbabwe subsequently developed the National AgriTech Strategy to leverage AgriTech innovations to improve efficiency, to increase effectiveness, to reduce costs and enhance the competitiveness of agriculture, resultantly improving production and productivity and promoting the agriculture sector’s contribution to the GDP. The strategy was developed under the Smart Africa e-Agriculture and AgriTech initiative championed by Zimbabwe,” said Minister Masuka.
Minister Masuka added that the implementation of the AgriTech Strategy will require a reliable and accurate agriculture information system for measuring progress towards food security, assessing import substitution, evaluating foreign currency generation and undertaking an inventory of value addition and beneficiation, while taking stock of employment creation and measuring livelihoods improvement.
Speaking at the same occasion, ICT, Postal and Courier Services Minister, Jenfan Muswere, said it was important to utilise the potential of ICTs in agriculture to enhance production.
“The amount of food imports or exports determines sovereignty of a country. We should use ICTs to increase agriculture production and productivity and we should always be conscious of efficient land use and management so we can have enough food.
“We are delighted that the blueprint we have produced will be replicated in Africa. It is important to optimally utilise the potential of ICT in agriculture,” said Minister Muswere.
The successful implementation of the strategy will boost agricultural and rural development by improving access to valuable information that can help agricultural stakeholders to make the best possible decisions and use the resources available most productively and sustainably.