Bureau régional de la FAO pour l'Afrique

FAO’s Hand-in-Hand Initiative can help accelerate agricultural production, productivity and growth in Zimbabwe

VICTORIA FALLS, 5 May 2022 - Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, executives from the private sector, civil society, farmer unions, international organizations and other partners acknowledged the role that FAO’s Hand-in-Hand initiative (HiHi) can play to accelerate the transformation of agriculture and food systems in Zimbabwe.

The stakeholders from the agriculture sector, spoke at the ongoing HiHi, high level executive meeting that was organized by FAO in partnership with the Government of Zimbabwe.  

Opening the meeting, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development (MoLAFWRD), John Basera said, the Hand-in-Hand initiative is relevant to Zimbabwe’s development goals and approaches.  

“Partnerships, innovation, data, technology and inclusiveness are at the core of the initiative and this is in line with the Agriculture and Food System Transformation Strategy that aims to accelerate agricultural production, productivity and growth in Zimbabwe, while reducing inequalities by accelerating agricultural transformation and sustainable rural development,” added Basera.

The HiHi is an evidence-based global programme that has been adopted, localized, and it is being driven by the Government of Zimbabwe through the Ministry of Lands Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development (to eradicate poverty, end hunger and all forms of malnutrition.

“FAO is fully committed to forge partnerships at different levels to support agriculture sector growth in Zimbabwe, develop and implement investment programmes under the HiHi to improve the lives of the extremely poor and eradicate poverty,” said Patrice Talla, FAO Subregional Coordinator for Southern Africa Patrice Talla.

“The multi-agency and multi-sector partnerships being forged at different levels are effective in supporting Zimbabwe to develop and implement investment programmes under the HiHi towards the development of more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agri-food systems”, added Talla.

“Forging strategic partnerships is key to ensure that the HiHi initiative effectively supports and reinforces existing and ongoing national programmes and initiatives, not duplicating or reinventing the wheel, echoed Abebe Haile-Gabriel, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative to Africa.”

Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution highlighted that the HiHi could help address the crop and livestock value chains development in their respective provinces. The Ministers agreed that, “Rural farmers lack opportunities to get the right partnerships and investments in agriculture to help them increase their income and reduce inequalities and vulnerabilities in rural communities." They also added that investors can leverage in value addition of crops that are conducive for their respective regions to help uplift the livelihoods of the rural families in Zimbabwe.

A number of provinces in Zimbabwe have set aside thousands of hectares of land for rural households to utilize in partnerships with companies interested in investing in value chain development since investments in agricultural value chains have great potential in terms of improving productivity, creating added value and developing exports.

The ministers also highlighted investments in Livestock value addition was also key in their provinces and encouraged the private sector to invest in technologies and agri-food systems that can help farmers improve sustainable crop and livestock production.

Other areas for investments identified by the Ministers included the dairy milk value chain, fish farming and horticultural farming.

Hand-in-Hand on the ground in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s HiHi programme builds on the Government’s Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Agenda, leveraging on existing agricultural investment promotion and facilitating initiatives in the country such as AgrInvest.

In Zimbabwe, the initiative was launched in November 2020, to date significant progress has been made, consultative processes, data analytics towards planned development of the HiHi investment programme dashboard.

In addition, work has been done on the situational analysis that is donor mapping, data assessment and typologies analysis, with entry points and micro-region typologies identified.

On the partnership front, the country has observed some early commitments from two countries, namely United Arab Emirates and Netherlands. Respectively, each resource partner committed USD 350 000 to specifically target smallholder aggregation and investment support in food loss and waste reduction infrastructure.