GOVERNMENT plans to set up a horticulture department within the Ministry of Lands and Agriculture as part of efforts to boost the agricultural sector.

Speaking during a Seed Co vegetable mega field day held in Harare yesterday, Agriculture secretary, Ringson Chitsiko said the move from subsistence to commercial farming was key in development of the rural economy.

“The shift from subsistence to commercial farming is fundamental in the development of the rural economy on our way to achieve sustainable inclusive economic growth,” said Chitsiko.

Seed Co has a number of high-yielding vegetable hybrids and improved varieties conducive for local conditions.

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The company’s agronomy and extension services manager, John Bhasera said vegetable farming can help farmers raise revenue when major crops are not in season.

“You cannot have a smoothly-run farming business without having several income streams. Farmers need to grow vegetables in order to spread cash revenue on the farm. This will help
supplement income on the farm,” he said.

He also said venturing into farming business helped in spreading the risk in the farming business, especially with issues to do with climate change.

“Climate change is a real problem farmers cannot control, making the business a risk. Therefore, farmers can reduce the risk through vegetable farming,” he said.