THE European Union will this week launch a €40 million four-year agricultural growth programme to improve Zimbabwe’s livestock sector. The Zimbabwe Agricultural Growth Programme (ZAGP), who are the technical partners to the project, revealed this in a statement.
“A four-year agricultural growth programme will be launched in Zimbabwe on June 11, 2019, paving the way for increased livestock development in the country. Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri and the EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Timo Olkkonen, who will also be leading the EU delegation, will officially launch the programme. The diplomatic community, programme partners, the private sector, and non-governmental organisations are expected to attend the event. The national project will be launched at Chibero College of Agriculture in Chegutu district, Mashonaland West Province. “The four-year programme is funded by the European Union and seeks to transform Zimbabwe’s livestock sector and develop a diversified and efficient agriculture sector that promotes inclusive green economic growth,” said ZAGP.
“The programme is a response to tackle these challenges through financial support from the EU, amounting €40 million.” ZAGP said its overarching objective was to contribute to the development of a diversified and efficient agriculture sector that promotes inclusive green economic growth. The programme consists of five outcomes each addressing key constraints that include increased production and productivity of the livestock sector. Livestock products have better access to markets and are more competitive, increased public and private investment in targeted livestock value chains and improved agricultural education systems and extension services. ZAGP recognises that value chains are dynamic, market driven systems to which support services and coordination are crucial. Increasing the added value and safeguarding sustainability, are key elements for inclusive green economic growth.
“For this to take place, it is critical to facilitate the cooperation of the public and the private sector. While a strong and conducive regulatory framework should be developed, responsible investments should be driving productivity and competitiveness of the sector,” it said. The programme is expected to cover Zimbabwe’s 10 provinces addressing the weaknesses and gaps in livestock value chains that have prevented the sector from increasing productivity, production, and incomes, to their maximum potential.
“Focus will be on building the capacity of farmers, service institutions, and private sector through increased investment, institutional reforms and policy alignment,” said ZAGP. The programme has grants that have been awarded for working on different value chains and projects within Zimbabwe’s livestock sector. These include the beef enterprise strengthening and transformation, inclusive poultry value chain, transforming Zimbabwe’s dairy value chain for the future, and the value chain alliance for livestock upgrading and empowerment.