Mashudu Netsianda, senior reporter
THE Presidential Rural Development Program, launched by President Mnangagwa in Jinjika village, Makorokoro region of Mangwe district, South Matabeleland, is expected to generate nearly one million jobs over the next two years and spur growth economic in rural areas.
The program, which was launched last Wednesday at the Sekusile-Makorokoro nutrition garden in the village of Jinjika, complies with the criteria defined in the strategy for transforming the agricultural and food system (2020-2025), the national objective of which is to see Zimbabwe achieve US $ 8 billion in agricultural economy by 2025.
The strategy, which was launched by President Mnangagwa last year in August, is based on growing the economy and ensuring that Zimbabwe grows its own food and ensures that the majority of rural families move out of poverty. to wealth.
The presidential rural development program will transform horticulture through increased access to clean water for 10 million people living in rural areas, which represents 70 percent of the country’s population.
In line with its ongoing restructuring exercise, the Ministry of Land, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement has since created the post of director of the provincial agriculture and rural development services. to lead rural projects aimed at accelerating the achievement of Vision 2030.
The Presidential Rural Development Program aims to create a rural economy of US $ 6 billion by 2025, growing from US $ 300 million to US $ 8 billion by 2028.
Speaking on the sidelines of the launch of the presidential rural development program, the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement, Dr Anxious Masuka, said the program, in addition benefit 1.8 million households, will also generate jobs for 840,000 people. in rural areas.
“When the project is in full swing, 700,000 villagers will be employed daily across the country in addition to the 140,000 young people who will be directly employed.
There will be many services associated with this program, ”he said.
“This is an exciting phase in transforming our country and the rural economy as we build source businesses.
We will also employ 35,000 young people to manage projects in this program over the next two years as we roll out this program. “
The components of the presidential rural development program include drilling in 25,000 villages in communal areas and 9,000 villages in resettlement areas.
“Each village will have a village borehole with drinking water which will also become an economic catalyst to allow the village to engage in significant horticulture. We are currently focusing on the common areas for now so that no one and no place is left behind, ”said Dr Masuka.
The program is expected to lift over 1.8 million households from poverty to prosperity through increased household incomes as well as job creation and empowerment opportunities.
Each village will also have a nutritional garden with a wide range of fruit trees and sweet potatoes distributed to households.
The government will also drill 9,600 boreholes for schools while each neighborhood will receive two boreholes for youth horticultural projects.
“Young people are an important demographic; therefore, the president allowed us to include two boreholes per neighborhood for the young people so that they can also start their projects, ”he said.
Dr Masuka said the presidential rural development program will create rural agro-food industries.
“It will also create agribusinesses in neighborhoods and agricultural entrepreneurship in schools. We also say that rural agricultural development will lead to rural industrialization, which will boost rural development, ”he said.
“Rural development will in turn facilitate and accelerate the achievement of Vision 2030. We have integrated all aspects of water sanitation and health into the presidential rural development program.
Dr Masuka said the program will transform 1.8 million rural households from subsistence agriculture to surplus agriculture.
“We want them to become active economic participants rather than passive economic spectators. Through this program, we seek to transform 60,000 A1 farmers from surplus-focused farmers into successful micro agro-food businesses owned and operated by families producing sustainable surpluses resulting from the awareness that agriculture is a business, ”he said.
“We also want to transform the 21,000 A2 farmers into successful serial farm businessmen and women.
Dr Masuka said that as part of the horticultural recovery and development plan, the government seeks to complement current efforts such as the presidential Pfumvudza / Intwasa climate-proof input program for grains and cotton to ensure food security while providing good nutrition and income.
“The horticulture recovery and development plan has two components, namely the horticulture recovery sub-plan for convection horticulture and the second is the sub-plan called horticulture development, nicknamed the presidential rural development program, ”he said.
“This is a Vision 2030 accelerator model based on the mantra that no one and nowhere should be left behind. The elements of the agricultural and food system transformation strategy are clearly represented in the national development strategy (NDS1), and among the objectives we seek to achieve food security, fodder, oils, fibers and biofuels for the nation of here 2024. “
Dr Masuka said that thanks to the new model A2 secure settlement permit with advanced security features to combat bogus letters of offer, A1 and A2 farmers are now required to complete and return productivity forms. annual.
“We do this so that we can gather information about the challenges they face in farming, but more importantly, so that we can develop the relevant policies to enable them to see farming as a business so that they can prosper and prosper and make land reform a success, ”he said.–@mashnets