Call to build on policy gains to transform agriculture and food systems in Zimbabwe





HARARE, Zimbabwe, /APO Group/ — With the right policies and investment approaches, the agricultural sector can help invigorate Zimbabwe’s 2030 vision for an upper middle income agriculture economy, government, development partners and private-sector leaders said at the Zimbabwe Livelihoods and Food Security Programme (LFSP) closeout event held on 12 August 2021.The online webinar was held to mark the end of a 7-year, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) £72.4 million multi-sectorial food security and livelihoods programme and featured representatives from the government, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), FCDO, donors, the private sector, as well as researchers and agricultural experts from the private sector and civil society organizations.

“LFSP was a multi-sectoral programme and implemented as a collaboration of multiple partners intervening with diverse components layered and sequenced for simultaneous attainment of greater impacts on food and nutrition included pluralistic extension services, nutrition and bio fortification, market development, rural finance, gender and policy support, and touched the lives of over 1,25 million people,” Ali Said, FAO Chief Technical Advisor for the LFSP project.

Speaking on behalf of the keynote speaker at the event, Dr. John Basera Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water & Rural Resettlement Mr. Stancillae Tapererwa (Acting Chief Director of AGRITEX) noted that the Ministry will use the policy initiatives from LFSP to steer the agriculture sector to contribute to the attainment of reducing poverty and hunger.

“The LFSP programme influenced systemic changes relating to approaches, models and technologies in the country which has contributed to policy changes. These should be used to inform other development programmes going forward so that we do not duplicate or continue in piloting mode,” Mr. Stancillae Tapererwa.

New opportunities for further collaboration and systems approach will be offered through the FAO Zimbabwe Hand in Hand Initiative and the Agrinvest framework

“As a Ministry we took a bold step in promoting the Pfumvudza Plots this season, encouraged by the on farm trials by Foundation for Farming and the field pilots done in LFSP Districts.” Mr. Stancillae Tapererwa.

“We have also been provided with documentation on initiatives such as use of Moringa and Black Soldier Fly in local livestock feed formulation, biofortification, the nutrition behaviour change communication – Care Group model, pluralistic extension models and the acaricide model for controlling tickborne diseases. These best practices which can be taken for upscaling.” Mr. Stancillae Tapererwa.

FCDO Representative, Mr Dave Mollatt speaking on behalf of the Deputy Development Director, Francesca Stidston infomed the workshop that while donor support will continue to be important in policy development, the country  itself will have to continue to build on the successes from previous interventions to generate the changes that will lead to food systems transformation.

“I would like to congratulate FAO for providing exemplary leadership in the execution of this programme and appeal to FAO and other UN agencies in the country to ensure that the gains from this programme are sustainably scaled up to ensure effective food systems transformation and all round improvement in the livelihoods of the Zimbabweans particularly small holder farmers. FCDO remains committed to investing in future programming for agriculture and resilience more so now with the anticipated impacts of COVID-19 pandemic,” Dave Mollat.

Speaking at the same event the FAO Subregional Coordinator for Southern Africa, Dr Patrice Talla stated that FAO had already started the journey of upscaling and building on the gains from the LFSP programme.

“With the LFSP coming to an end it is our hope as FAO that the interventions implemented under LFSP can be scaled up through coordinated participation of government and private sector partnerships and through sustained policy dialogue. As FAO we have already initiated two follow up project proposals for continuing policy support work and the further piloting and scaling of low input sustainable agriculture technologies and nature-positive practices.  In addition new opportunities for further collaboration and systems approach will be offered through the FAO Zimbabwe Hand in Hand Initiative and the Agrinvest framework,” Dr. Patrice Talla.

The key presentation on policy was delivered by Deputy Director, Ms. Dorcas Tawonashe of the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement on behalf of the Chief Director for Strategic Policy Planning and Business Development, Mr. Clemence T. Bwenje. She applauded the several products and policy initiatives achieved by the programme and welcomed the coming on board of the Center for Agriculture and Food Policy (CAFP) as an independent think tank to further enhance evidence generation and policy analysis in the sector. In her parting words she emphasized the importance of not turning back on the gains achieved by the LFSP programme.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of FAO Regional Office for Africa.