Agricultural Sector in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is thought to have fertile soil and one of the most perfect farming climates in the world. As a result, the agricultural sector is the largest economic sector in the country. Agriculture is the “engine” of the Zimbabwean economy. It has a heavy influence on the other economic sectors particularly the manufacturing sector which processes agricultural output as well as provides necessary materials for agricultural production. Thus the agricultural sector is central to all trade in Zimbabwe, including international trade – and the entire nations well being.
The Agricultural sector today
Agricultural exports produce approximately Z$13.4 billion annually. 40% of Zimbabwe’s foreign exchange earnings are made through agricultural exports, making it the economic sector that contributes the most to Zimbabwe’s involvement in international trade. In addition, 60-70% of Zimbabwe’s population are employed in agriculture related activities, thus the success of the agricultural sector is vital.
There are many investment opportunities in farming in Zimbabweto boost the viability of this sector from the production of cash crops, production of strategic crops, mechanization, horticulture and the upgrading of agricultural equipment and livestock.
Tobacco makes up the largest percentage of exports in Zimbabwe. Most of the tobacco grown in the country is of flue-cured Virginia variety, whilst smaller crops of burley and oriental tobacco are also grown. Of these crops, 99% are exported, and the balance is processed locally.
Other major agricultural exports from Zimbabwe include: sugar, tea, coffee, cotton, fruit and vegetables, flowers, seeds, maize, animals and birds, beef and dairy products and wildlife and poultry meat.
Government & the agricultural sector
Because the agricultural sector is of such importance to Zimbabwe’s involvement in international trade and, most importantly, the well being of the nation, the government has taken extra measures to strengthen this economic sector. Extension services and training programmes have been developed to allow for and teach technical skills and good farming methods to farmers. In addition, extensive irrigation schemes and dams have been built, making farmland out of many areas deemed previously unsuitable.
In 2000, the government implemented the agrarian reform that strived towards equitable distribution of land which allowed the majority of people to acquire land and contribute to commercial agriculture. A forest based reform encouraged sustainable timber farming in the country, and a wildlife based reform attempted to use areas previously left to wilderness as farm land.
In all, the government has implemented many methods over the years to improve production in the agricultural sector, Zimbabwe’s largest economic sector. Through these methods, the government hopes to encourage international trade as well as keep the Zimbabwean economy strong in order to benefit the nation as a whole.
For more information on farming and horticulture in Zimbabwe fill in the Trade Zimbabwe enquiry form or write to or join the #TradeZimbabwe chat on Facebook and Twitter.