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From Breadbasket to Innovation Basket

From Breadbasket to Innovation Basket

September 2018

Accelerated agriculture growth is a pragmatic approach for Zimbabweans to achieve the vision to be an upper middle-income economy by 2030. Agriculture enables an inclusive sustainable growth and the base for an affordable food system. Innovation is integral to any contemporary social-economic national development plan. As such, agriculture innovation is a future-proof and globally competitive development pillar than agriculture on its own. This article articulates how Zimbabwe can achieve vision 2030 by transitioning from a breadbasket legacy to innovation basket of Africa status.

Zimbabwe was the breadbasket of Africa in the 1990s when agriculture contributed 9-15% of Gross Domestic Product, 20-33% export revenue and livelihoods to 70% of Zimbabweans. This achievement is rooted in Zimbabwe’s economic history. When colonialists arrived in the 1890s, Zimbabwean agriculture was thriving with prospects beyond their imaginations. As a result, they switched to agriculture instead of the original British South Africa Company (BSAC) mining objective. During the liberation struggle, agriculture carried the day. From 1980 to 1998,
agricultural contribution to GDP averaged 17% and in 2017 it was 10%. About 65% of Zimbabweans live in rural areas, making the county’s economy inherently coupled with agriculture. At a continental level, Agriculture
contributes 30% of Africa’s GDP and employs more than 60% of workers.

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