Vusumuzi Dube,Senior Reporter

MORE than 1,8 million households will be supported under the Presidential Input Support Scheme as Government works towards ensuring that the Presidential Climate Proofed Agriculture programme is a success, President Mnangagwa has said.

President Mnangagwa made these remarks on Thursday while presenting his State of the Nation Address which coincided with the opening of the third session of the ninth Parliament of Zimbabwe.

He commended the farming community for working hard in preparing the land under the pfumvudza/intwasa model of farming.

“The Presidential Input Support Scheme will see over 1,8 million households being supported with free inputs to grow maize and traditional grain, while cotton farmers will also continue to receive support.

“The opening up of the horticulture space for our rural communities as a vehicle for improved economic inclusion and empowerment is essential. To this end, my Government has resolved to roll out the Presidential Horticulture Scheme. Furthermore, the accelerated resuscitation and development of irrigation schemes as well as construction of dams in all our provinces will help climate proof our agriculture against the adverse effects of climate change,” said the President.

He revealed that inspite of the global and local economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the country’s exports increased by 4,9 percent to US$1,96 billion during the first half of 2020 from US$1,86 billion in 2019, for the comparative period.

Imports declined by 5,9 per cent, from US$1,96 billion to US$1,84 billion, during the 2019 and 2020 first half comparative periods, respectively.

“In addition, foreign currency receipts have performed better than anticipated, appreciating by 18 per cent as at end of August 2020. Coupled with Diaspora remittances, these should continue to anchor and drive further stability.

“The reported increased certification of new products by the Standards Association of Zimbabwe is another positive signal that our industry is indeed alive and that jobs are being created. We expect the trend of the positive trade balance to be sustained through increased productivity and exports, across all sectors of the economy,” said President Mnangagwa.

The President revealed that the Government will soon launch the First Five-Year National Development Strategy: 2021-2025 (NDS 1), which builds on the successes of the Transitional Stabilisation Programme.

“Our Transitional Stabilisation Programme has delivered and there are causes for optimism. My Government is indeed encouraged by the current economic stability, evident since the launch of the foreign exchange auction system in June. The system has resulted in the stability of the foreign exchange rate as well as the prices of our goods and services.

“The NDS 1 will guide the formulation of the 2021 National Budget, which wiII provide more detail on the state of our economy. The fight against corruption continues to be a central goal for my Government. This vice cannot co-exist with sustainable economic development and growth. Therefore, let us all strengthen our determination to rid Zimbabwe of corruption. Nobody is above the law’ Justice shall be pursued,” he said.

On the energy sector, President Mnangagwa said the current stability in power supplies owing to improved hydro-power generation at Kariba Dam and increased energy output at the thermal power plants has had a positive impact on productivity across all sectors of the economy.

He revealed that Independent Power Producers are equally poised to feed additional power onto the national grid, by the second quarter of 2021.

“The ongoing coal mining projects in Hwange District, will ultimately translate into an increased national generation capacity of over 6 000 Megawatts by 2025. This will see Zimbabwe becoming a net exporter of energy. Works on the Hwange 7 and 8 Expansion Project will be expedited following delays as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Since my previous address to this August House, fuel supplies have stabilised as a result of a raft of policies put in place by my Government. We shall continue to strengthen competitiveness in the fuel sub-sector and energy sector as a whole, through innovations coming out of Institutions of Higher Learning such as the Harare Institute of Technology,” he said.