Zimbabwe Strengthening the Agriculture Marketing and Trade Policy

The Zimbabwe Ministry of Agriculture in partnership with stakeholders and partners is developing a comprehensive, integrated and stakeholder driven Agricultural Marketing and Trade Policy, with pillars, Food and Nutrition Security; Agricultural Knowledge, Technology and Innovation System; Production and Supply of Agricultural Inputs; Development of Agricultural Infrastructure; Agricultural Marketing and Trade Development Agricultural Finance and Credit; Access, Tenure and Land Administration; Sustainable (Green) Agriculture and Institutional Arrangements for Policy implementation.

Zimbabwe Strengthening the Agriculture Marketing and Trade Policy

The Zimbabwe Ministry of Agriculture in partnership with stakeholders and partners is developing a comprehensive, integrated and stakeholder driven Agricultural Marketing and Trade Policy, with pillars, Food and Nutrition Security; Agricultural Knowledge, Technology and Innovation System; Production and Supply of Agricultural Inputs; Development of Agricultural Infrastructure; Agricultural Marketing and Trade Development
Agricultural Finance and Credit; Access, Tenure and Land Administration; Sustainable (Green) Agriculture and
Institutional Arrangements for Policy implementation.

Funded by the European Union through the Community Technology Development Organisation (CTDO), the new agricluture policy is expected to demonstrate a farmer-centric & integrated research – education -extension framework that establishes a market-oriented rural agricultural sector, said the Zimbabwe Agriculture Marketing and Trade Policy facilitator Dr. Emmanuel Mwakiwa, PhDA griculture, Environment and Natural Resource Economist, Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension at the University of Zimbabwe at a stakeholders workshop held in Gweru recently.

Dr. Mwakiwa said that, Zimbabwe faces a number of socio-economic challenges which are constraints for the development of the country including: the public wage bill (79% of revenue in 2018); insufficient formal employment (estimated at as low as 4% and as high as 95%); lack of liquidity in the banking system; 
lack of business predictability; and a large external debt burden (stood at US$8.1bn as of June 2019)".

Dr. Mwakiwa added that, the high costs of production paired with low levels of capacity have largely rendered Zimbabwe's manufactured products uncompetitive on the international market. Value added exports from the manufacturing sector are still depressed.

Zimbabwe is currently a trading economy, noted Dr. Mwakiwa, adding that, importing more than 50% of its foodstuffs from the region and clothing from as far as China, Brazil, India & Dubai. Zimbabwe’s moves to introduce temporary bans on imports, imposition of additional import levies and other import controls are protectionist measures that restrict domestic market access".

The agriculture sector has over the years failed to attract substantial funding from the financial services sector 
it gets <20% of loans and advances most of the years, despite being the backbone of the economy

Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector has been on a decline for a protracted period of time.
Figures from the Zimstat showed that the trade deficit for 2013 widened to $4.19 billion from $3.6 billion in 2012, after the country imported goods worth $7.70 billion against exports of $3.51 billion on the back of an influx of imported foodstuffs.

At has been noted that for the Zimbabwe Agriculture sector to grow the country needs to focus on the marketing and trade issues below:

Pillar 1: Legal and regulatory, Macroeconomic and trading environment
Pillar 2: Enhancing value addition in the Agriculture sector
Pillar 3: Strengthening and building capacity to enhance marketing and trade
Pillar 4: Cross cutting areas and issues

Dr. Mwakiwa said that, "there should be promotion of livestock based projects and small grains in the drier provinces and an emphasis on cash crops and more intensive livestock projects in the rainfall advantaged provinces. The prioritization in value addition should be based on region and agro-ecological zone.