Zimbabwe has secured much-needed funds, with the European Union and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization committing $242 million aimed at bolstering the country’s agricultural sector.
The $140 million pledged by the EU will support priority areas, such as sustainable land and water management, value chain development, trade capacity and business development, as well as resilience, climate change, quick response and early warning systems. The FAO, through its contribution of $102 million will support policy and institutional frameworks, competitiveness and climate smart agriculture, according to a statement issued by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, a free trade area with 20 member-states stretching from Libya to Swaziland.
The new round of funding will help Zimbabwe meet the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program objectives, which include an allocation of at least 10 percent of public expenditure to the agricultural sector. The CAADP principles have also served as a basis for Zimbabwe’s agricultural investment plan, ZAIP, which is aimed at strengthening agriculture input and output markets in order to fight poverty though agricultural-led development.
According to the Zimbabwe Agricultural Investment Plan for 2013-18, the country’s agricultural sector continues to exhibit untapped potential. Realizing this potential would have a “remarkable” multiplier effect on the country’s economic growth, the Ministry of Agriculture states in the document.
According to the ministry, Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector employs approximately 70 percent of the population and accounts for 15 to 20 percent of GDP. Women also play an important role in the sector as they account for roughly 70 percent of the labor force. This is why the current round of funding will also go towards “gender-sensitive agricultural research and coordination”.