AGRICULTURE SUPPORT SERVICES IN ZIMBABWE
INPUT SUBSIDY PROGRAMMES – ISPS
This is not unique to Zimbabwe but is common in many African countries. Such programs involve the government facilitating cheap and easy access to agricultural inputs. The key inputs provided usually include seeds, fertilizers and implements. Of course in Zimbabwe, such programs are the subject of much controversy, something I will not delve into herein. However, the programs do provide much-needed support for some farmers. ISPs are particularly important to small scale farmers because they typically struggle to afford inputs.
AGRICULTURAL AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY – ARDA ZIMBABWE
ARDA, which most of you might have heard of at some point, is a statutory body. It operates as stipulated and is governed by the Agricultural and Rural Development Act (Chapter 18:01). Its long term vision is to achieve a thriving, food and nutrition secure Zimbabwe and Southern African Region by year 2030. Their mission is to plan coordinate, implement, promote and enable commercialised Agriculture and Rural Development in Zimbabwe. ARDA is found at 3 McChlery Avenue South, Eastlea in Harare. You can also email on [email protected].
ZIMBABWE AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT TRUST – ZADT
ZADT was formed by two organizations namely, SNV Netherlands Development Organization and Humanistic Institute for Development Cooperation (HIVOS). It was formed in 2000 and it mainly focuses on resuscitating and or enhancing small-scale farmers in Zimbabwe. It does so through raising and availing appropriately priced capital with a bid to recover Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector. They are located at 44 The Chase, in Mt Pleasant, Harare. Their contact numbers are +263242303560, +263242303561, +263776557984, and +263776557993. You can visit their website for more details.
AGRICULTURAL TECHNICAL AND EXTENSION SERVICES – AGRITEX
They provide tech extension, advisory, and regulatory services across the agricultural production value chain. Agritex used to be vibrant back in the day but things went south at some point. However, Agritex is now slowly being re-capacitated. Recently the government employed 4600 Agritex officers and also unveiled 5000 motorbikes for Agritex officers. This was all in a bid to prepare for the current cropping season. Agritex has a district and provincial branches; it also has specialist branches all across the country. You can connect with them on Twitter for more information.
ZIMBABWE FARMERS’ UNION – ZFU
The ZFU’s vision is to promote and advance farmers’ interests and welfare through representation, networking, information dissemination, capacity building, the formation of commercially viable enterprises, environment, gender and HIV mainstreaming, and mobilization of resources and members. They can be found at 5 Van Praagh Avenue Milton Park in Harare. You can email them at [email protected] or contact them on +263 771 564 554. Anyone who is into farming can join the union – you can visit their website for more info.
AGRICULTURAL MARKETING AUTHORITY – AMA
The vision and mission statements of AMA are as follows. Vision: A sustainable and prosperous agricultural sector driven by effective marketing regulatory services by 2030. Mission: To provide a conducive regulatory environment for sustainable marketing and production of agricultural products. AMA was set up 16 years ago in line with the Agricultural Marketing Authority Act Chapter (18:24). It is specifically tasked with the role of overseeing the regulation, production, and marketing of all agricultural products in Zimbabwe. AMA is found at 8 Leman Road, Mt Pleasant in Harare. You can email them at [email protected] or call on +263 242 308 662-4. You can just simply visit their website for more info.
COMMERCIAL FARMERS UNION – CFU
The CFU is an apolitical organization that champions and advances the interests of commercial farmers in Zimbabwe. Anyone can join but one has to pay subscriptions to access CFU’s services. Promotion of stability and competitiveness in the agricultural business environment is one of its key focuses. They also provide advisory and support services to farmers. Core areas span from technical services, inputs, marketing dynamics, business management, labour relations, and a whole lot more. For more information kindly visit their website. They are found at Harare Show Grounds in Harare. Contact numbers are +263 4 770029 / 770057 / 770059 / 770071 / 771079.
As farmers, particularly small scale farmers, take advantage of these support services. Farmers in Zimbabwe need all the support that they can get. Did you know that the last time Zimbabwe ever managed to produce adequate maize for the whole nation was 20 years ago? It has literally become the norm that agriculture is ailing in Zimbabwe but that narrative can be changed.