The private sector says command agriculture has laid a firm foundation towards the transformation of the domestic agricultural sector with the country gradually moving towards regaining its bread basket status.

Zimbabwe, whose trade deficit for the first four months of the year stood at $1 billion, has demonstrated its commitment to boosting production in the agricultural sector, improving capacity utilisation in the manufacturing sector and ensuring export-led growth with the expansion of the command agriculture programme.

Delegates at the just ended 2018 Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe (ICAZ) winter school held in Victoria Falls highlighted that the benefits of the agro-import substitution programme are beginning to be realised.

“We are beginning to see the benefits on the government-led import substitution programme. It is therefore imperative that going forward, the private sector take over from the government and championing the revitalisation of the agricultural sector,” said Mr Kipson Gundani, the CEO Africa Roundtable CEO.

ZB Bank CEO, Ron Mutandagayi said command agriculture has so far played a critical role in filling up the funding gap and highlighted the need for financial institutions to compliment government in the programme.

“We had a situation where we required an organised method of making agriculture work again and I think the command agriculture programme has done that. In the long run, we now need banks to play a part by financing this critical sector,” he said.

According to the delegates, going forward there is need to enhance the mechanisation programme, improve the yield per hectare, increase investment in research and improving access to markets.