The Sunday News
ZIMBABWE being an agro-based country has 80 percent of its population depending on agriculture for a livelihood and a majority of the farmers are women.
In addition, agriculture is the major employer of the country’s labour force, accounting for 65 percent of the rural population while manufacturing sector derives most of its inputs from agriculture. It therefore makes more economic sense for the Government to make concrete efforts of reviving this sector in addition to mining and tourism. The following are the four main business insights for the week around the central theme of agribusiness projects.
Business Insight 1
Since the onset of Covid-19 induced economic shocks, it has been reported in many major newspapers that the most affected businesses and by extension leading to job losses in businesses such as tourism, hospitality, airlines, sports, entertainment etc.
This is another good reason your business could fail . . . being in non-essential business sector. Some could be saying, so Mr Business Consultant, which then is the most essential business industry which will always operate well, pandemic or no pandemic? We have always found the answer right in the same newspapers. It is being reported to be agri-business sector. Out of this sector comes out food industry, meat industry, clothing, etc. Depending on your passion, one could be into venture productions, processing, marketing, retailing, consulting, finance of agriculture goods and services. The list is endless . . .
Business Insight 2
Officials’ studies done by experts in the field of agriculture revealed recently that 80 percent of women in the world live in rural areas where they constitute 61 percent of farmers and provide 70 percent of labour. There are known to spend 49 percent of their time on business of agriculture while 25 percent on domestic activities. This essentially proves then that the smallholder women farmers are the bedrock of food security in every country in the world, including our own . . . So it’s about time that both men and women embrace farming as a business and the rest will be history.
Business Insight 3
According to official reports, Africa as a continent has an estimated area of 600 million hectares of which 400 million hectares is under cultivation while the rest which is 200 million hectares is idle land. Yet with all this Africa spend close to US$35 billion on imports of food products such as rice, wheat, vegetable oils etc. With this in mind what then is our country level of land under no cultivation and what is our level of food imports? It’s about time we focus on farming as a business to give us hope of economic prosperity and lift ourselves out of poverty.
Business Insight 4
According to an insightful observation made by the late respectable former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, agriculture is the only sector among a few in Africa that holds the key to defeating poverty in Africa. Many research scholars have noted that growth in agriculture is 11 times more effective in reducing poverty than growth in any other sector. Mr Strive Masiyiwa, the founder and chairman of the Econet Group had this to say about agriculture “I am convinced, more than ever before, that agriculture will be at the heart of the continent’s journey towards inclusive economic growth, affording our people a decent living and continuing to build their resilience to shock”.
George Nhepera is a Bulawayo-based banker and business consultant. Contact him on WhatsApp +263778149459, [email protected] for comments and discussions.