Zimbabwean Survey Reveals Agriculture Remains Primary Income Source Despite Challenges

3 weeks agoSun, 11 Feb 2024 11:56:59 GMT
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Zimbabwean Survey Reveals Agriculture Remains Primary Income Source Despite Challenges

According to a recent survey conducted by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat), agriculture remains the primary source of income for the majority of Zimbabweans, despite challenges such as rising farming input costs and adverse weather conditions. The survey, called the Rapid Poverty Income Consumption and Expenditure Survey (PICES), observed that farming accounted for 29 percent of household incomes, down from 39 percent in the previous period. However, wage employment has emerged as a growing source of income, with 22 percent of households relying on it compared to 15 percent previously.

The shift in income sources suggests a transformation in the economy, potentially influenced by factors such as changing job markets, climate variations, and rural-urban migration. Farming continues to sustain millions of people, but the survey identified the increasing cost of farming inputs as a major challenge, affecting over 11 percent of households. Experts attribute the rising costs to fertilizers, seeds, and equipment, The Sunday Mail reported.

The survey also highlighted the positive impact of government interventions in mitigating the challenges faced by farmers. Mr Tobias Musara, a Development Studies Senior Lecturer with a local university said:

While challenges remain, Government interventions seem to have softened the blow for many farmers, preventing a mass exodus from the agriculture sector.

Programs like the Pfumvudza/Intwasa and the Presidential Free Cotton Inputs Scheme have played a significant role in supporting farmers and boosting agricultural production. The Pfumvudza/Intwasa program, focusing on staple crops like maize and traditional grains, witnessed a substantial increase in land preparation.

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Apart from farming and wage employment, other income sources showed mixed results. Incomes from non-farm enterprises increased from 10 percent to 13 percent, indicating their growing importance. Intra-family support and retirement savings also saw slight increases. However, formal remittances decreased, potentially reflecting economic challenges in countries sending remittances to Zimbabwe. Informal remittances emerged as a new income source, possibly due to changes in migration patterns or informal transfer methods.

Understanding the various income sources and living conditions in Zimbabwe is crucial for the development of effective policies. The survey, conducted with the support of the World Bank and UNICEF, provides valuable insights into the economic landscape and helps inform decision-making processes.

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