THE Government is looking at boosting horticulture production through provision of appropriate funding facilities as part of a broader plan to grow the sector and boost exports.
The plan will also entail creating markets for the sector as well as regulatory framework that promotes the growth of the sector.
This comes as horticulture is one of the sectors primed for enhancing agriculture production, boost the country’s export earnings and job creation.
In his 2021 Pre-Budget Strategy Paper, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube, indicated part of the plan involves capacitating rural producers under the Horticulture Recovery Plan.
“The diversity and quick turn-around of horticulture activities provides scope for household income generation, jobs creation, high export earnings and growth. It also allows high per unit area yield, high returns per unit area, best utilisation of wasteland, provision of raw materials for industries, and production of more food and other high value cash crops.
“Therefore, the country, seeks to stimulate the horticulture industry to enhance domestic production, which also targets capacitation of rural communities, under the Horticulture Recovery Plan. In this regard, the 2021 National Budget will establish appropriate financing facilities, marketing linkages and conducive regulatory environment to promote horticulture production for both small, large and rural farmers,” said Minister Ncube.
One of the challenges that farmers, especially small holder farmers face, is access to markets particularly penetrating the export market.
Minister Ncube highlighted the importance of functional markets in sustaining agriculture production. Proper functional markets are also essential in curbing post-harvest losses incurred by farmers especially perishables from the horticulture sector.
Said Minister Ncube: “Proper functional markets signal viability areas in agriculture and hence guide farmers in identifying appropriate lines of activity relating to crops and livestock production. The 2021 National Budget should therefore seek to develop an efficient market system that promotes agriculture production.”
The Government has also started the process of capacitating agriculture specialists who offer advisory farming management, training/farming skills through acquiring necessary transport, communication and other tools for their work which is an integral requirement for enhancing productivity in the sector.
The agriculture sector as a whole is projected to grow by 11,3 percent in 2021 riding on favourable weather forecasts, timely financing, mechanisation and better capacitation of farmers through extension services and training.
However, this growth target of 11,3 percent is on the lower side than the sector policy targets.
“Successful implementation of sectors policy strategy will result in higher agriculture output for the next three years with positive impact on GDP,” said Minister Ncube.