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THE Agriculture Recovery Plan could see a major shift from subsistence to commercial farming by rural farmers in a development expected to help them achieve better livelihoods and narrow inequality gap between urban dwellers and rural residents.

The plan, being implemented by Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement Ministry, will see the Government rolling out various commercial horticulture, fisheries and livestock projects in rural areas where the majority of people live. 

This is expected to partly address inequality between rural and urban people especially when the Government is targeting to achieve a middle upper income status by 2030.

“Traditionally, rural farming is mostly subsistence and it is important that we direct efforts towards investing in commercial rural farming to alleviate poverty and boost incomes,”

development economist Enoch Musa told Herald Finance and Business.

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa, said the

“a raft of measures that will transform the agricultural sector once implemented.”

According to the plan, the 2021-2022 season will see the launch of the Rural Presidential Horticulture Plan. 

It will target priority fruit trees including passion fruit (Granadilla), pecan nuts, apple, guava, mango, lemon, avocado pears and macadamia. Each targeted household will be given 10 trees of each fruit variety, depending on suitability of the fruit tree to the agro-ecological regions and potential income to be generated. 

The first phase targets 500 000 seedlings. In addition, a total of 35 000 gardens will be established with each equipped with a solar borehole, cattle water trough and an ablution facility. Each garden will cater for a village, school or youth ward centre.

Government will also introduce a Presidential Rural Poultry Pass-on Scheme, which seeks to commercialise rural poultry production and provide an affordable source of protein and increasing household incomes. The scheme intends to distribute rural poultry chicks to at least 1,8 million rural households in five years.

The Goats Pass-On Scheme will see a total of 600 000 does and 40 000 bucks being distributed to 600 000 households in all the country’s eight rural provinces this year. 

The programme will result in 1,8 million rural households benefiting by 2023.  The other programmes to be introduced include the Silage and Pasture Production for Enhanced Milk Production, Veterinary Public Health Programme, in order to improve quality and quantity of livestock as well as improve milk production. 

Further, the Fisheries and Aquaculture Growth Plan will result in 60 fish ponds being developed at irrigation schemes in the country’s districts, while six cage projects will be established at the Muchekeranwa, Osborne, Mutirikwi, Nerutanga, Marovanyati and Chivhu dams. Benefits of the projects will accrue directly to the individual households, thereby raising their standards of living, said the Government.

The growing migration of desperate people from rural areas to cities seeking better economic opportunities has largely been blamed on lack of investments in rural areas.

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