FAO boost for horticultural development

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Farai Mabeza

THE Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has availed office equipment and a 4 X 4 vehicle to the Horticulture Development Council (HDC) under the AgriInvest initiative.

AgriInvest is a regional programme to support host governments develop enabling business environment for private sector investments in the agriculture sector and is supported by FAO.

Its aim is to develop efficient systems supported by effective policy and regulatory frameworks while enabling capital growth.

According to FAO subregional coordinator for Southern Africa and representative in Zimbabwe, Alain Onibon, the donation to the HDC was motivated by the desire to help build strong institutions in the agriculture sector.

“This is being done to support industry associations within the agricultural sector in Zimbabwe, to enhance their capacity to coordinate value chain activities and promote investments in the respective value chains,” Onibon said.

HDC was targeted to promote smallholder inclusion in the horticulture sector and through working with similar organisations, AgriInvest promotes the inclusion of smallholder farmers in the lucrative export value chains through contract farming and out grower arrangements.

FAO is providing technical assistance, financial assistance and equipment support under AgriInvest.

The expected outcomes in the sector are increased horticultural output, increased export earnings, decent work for youths and women and rural economic development.

HDC chairman Gorden Makoni said the donation would help drive the horticultural sector’s agenda to generate more exports.

“It will help us drive our drive towards import substitution to reduce the import bill and to support small scale farmers,” he said.

Lands, Agriculture, Climate and Rural Resettlement deputy minister Vangelis Haritatos applauded the institutional and system development approach taken by FAO, supporting industry associations within the sector.

“Strong institutions foster growth and transformation of the agriculture sector. This system and institutional development approach should continue and be applied to all the key value chain elements like financing and marketing,” he said.

The initiative will support comprehensive sector value chain studies, initially starting with seven horticultural commodity clusters; citrus, avocado and macadamia, tomatoes, onions and garlic, coffee and tea, peppers and chillies and peas.

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