Accelerating investments in Zimbabwe’s agro-food systems through the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Hand-in-Hand Initiative

Accelerating investments in Zimbabwe’s agro-food systems through the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Hand-in-Hand Initiative

Accelerating investments in Zimbabwe’s agro-food systems through the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Hand-in-Hand Initiative

Accelerating investments in Zimbabwe’s agro-food systems through the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Hand-in-Hand Initiative

More than 150 key stakeholders in the agriculture sector, including Senior Government officials, private sector actors, farmer organisations, financial institutions, development partners and UN Agencies are gathered in Harare for the next three days, holding an Agriculture and Food Systems Investment Forum. The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development (MoLAFWRD) led by Honourable Anxious Masuka is hosting this event, with technical support from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) under the Hand-in-Hand Initiative (HiHi).

The forum themed “Accelerating Investments in Zimbabwe’s Agro-Food Systems” will facilitate investment match-making, linking investors with the identified investment opportunities. During the event, the Minister delivered one of the key outcomes from the technical and diagnostics work supported by FAO, that is, the Provincial Agriculture Investment Plans (PAIPs). The Provincial Agriculture Investment Plans are investment prospectus containing clearly defined investment opportunities with defined profitability indicators. These are essential investment facilitation instruments developed to support the Government’s Devolution Agenda under the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1). The process has enabled the MoLAFWRD to be the first Ministry to provide sector-specific content to the Provincial Economic Development Plans.

Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs, their respective Permanent Secretaries and Directors for Economic Affairs are attending this high-level event. They all presented their investment opportunities as profiled in the PAIPs.

Launched in 2019, the HiHi is an FAO flagship programme that supports the implementation of country-led and country-owned programmes to accelerate agrifood systems transformations with the goal of eradicating poverty, ending hunger and malnutrition and reducing inequalities. It uses advanced geospatial, statistical modelling and analytics, as well as a robust partnership-building approach to accelerate the market-based transformation of agrifood systems.

The three-day forum will offer opportunities for Zimbabwe’s 10 provinces to present their agriculture investment plans and priorities. Honourable Minister Anxious Masuka officially opened the forum acknowledging the importance of the HiHi while also challenging the country to use the forum as a strategic platform to reflect on their progress in developing and implementing their investment plans vis-à-vis learning and sharing experiences including challenges encountered.   

“A data-based and output-driven people-oriented approach is at the core of the Hand in hand Initiative, so the geo-spatial provincial platforms are an important imperative. I therefore expect to see a rich tapestry of Provincial Plans clearly indicating how these interventions will uplift their populations, using a value chain approach and from ideation, to seed to fork,” said Honourable Masuka in his official opening remarks of the forum.

FAO invited other southern African countries who are at different stages of implementing the HiHi in their countries to facilitate learning and experience sharing for wider adoption and implementation at regional level.

“The FAO Regional Office for Africa has been organizing HiHi-specific exchanges with our colleagues from our headquarters in Rome and the subregional offices, to share and learn the good practices and challenges among our country offices. This event in Zimbabwe, which also provides an opportunity for the other HiHi countries in the subregion to share and also learn from the Zimbabwe experience, is important for such learnings from the Initiative,” said Abebe Haile Gabriel, Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative of the FAO Regional Office for Africa.

Acknowledging the collective objective to defeat poverty, hunger and malnutrition, the forum seeks to take advantage and foster strategic public-private sector partnerships to develop collective agrifood systems transformation strategies in Zimbabwe.

“The defining characteristics of the Hand-in-Hand Initiative including fostering stronger partnerships, use of advanced data and analytical tools, spatial planning will shape our discussions for the next three days as we deliberate on how to accelerate the mobilization of targeted investments and innovation to transform Zimbabwe’s agrifood systems sector,” asserted Patrice Talla, FAO Subregional Coordinator for Southern Africa and Representative to Zimbabwe setting the tone of the agricultural investment forum.

“The Hand-in-Hand initiative is an inspiring catalyst in the formation of these purposeful collaborative partnerships to fight poverty and hunger. We must harness the power of the collaborative and purposeful partnerships that are being forged at both local and international levels through this initiative,” said Edward Kallon, Zimbabwe UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator underlining the importance of implementing such initiatives under the UN sustainable development cooperation framework.

The forum is being held as a follow up the first one held in May 2022 which was held with the objective to deepen consultations and enhance partnerships, define priorities and targeted investments for agrifood systems transformation in Zimbabwe. Led by the Agriculture Minister, Zimbabwe successfully participated in, and presented investment cases at the first HiHi Investment Forum in Rome in October 2022, which generated a lot interest from potential investors.

Through different sessions ranging from a review of the national policy environment to presentations on processes, partnerships and results to date, highlights of investment opportunities and provincial investment plans, the forum is expected to come up with a sustainable national agrifood systems transformation Investment Roadmap.

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