The establishment of the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) was preceded by the merger of three pre-independence era organisations namely: Sabi Limpopo Authority (SLA), Tribal Trust Land Development Corporation (TILCOR) and the Agricultural Development Authority (ADA). The merger was necessitated by the need to create a perpetual buffer between Zimbabweans and hunger through an institution that would guarantee food security in Zimbabwe.ARDA was then established on 1st July 1982 through the ARDA Act Chapter 18:01 and its primary role is therefore to spearhead the advancement of Agricultural Production and Rural Development in Zimbabwe.

The Government of Zimbabwe recognises the importance of Agriculture in the National Economy - it is indeed the key to our economic recovery and hence every initiative that props up, Agricultural Development should be unreservedly supported. Fighting hunger and poverty starts with Agricultural Development that ensures self sufficiency.

However, in recent years, ARDA has been failing to achieve its above mandate, mainly due to funding constraints coupled with the absence of a dedicated Agricultural Fund. The Government continues to operate in a constrained fiscal space and Local Banks together with Treasury are failing to competitively fund the bulk of the Agricultural Support Programmes. This has seen the dilapidation of irrigation infrastructure, machinery and equipment at most ARDA Estates thus drastically reducing production of raw crops. The effect of all these challenges has been translated into an ever decreasing performance by ARDA Estates and ultimately the Authority.

Despite all the challenges alluded to above, ARDA is soldering-on and as an Institution, it has adopted innovative interventions like the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Model. The Authority has therefore, since 2009, adopted the PPP's Model as part of its Revival Strategy under guidance of the Shareholder. The current Turnaround Strategy for the Authority is actually anchored on engagement of Strategic Partners to fund and revive both ARDA Estates and Projects operations.

Under the current National Vision espoused in the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZIM-ASSET) Blue Print, ARDA is expected to spearhead the production of various crops to contribute to National Food and Nutrition Security as well as enhancing Value Addition and Beneficiation. The Strategic Partnerships that ARDA is entering into speak to the below four (4) key areas of His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Cde R. G. Mugabe's 25th August 2015 Ten Point Plan to maintain economic growth by putting in place various mechanisms to ensure the successful implementation of ZIM-ASSET:-

  • Revitalizing Agriculture and the Agro-processing Value Chain;
  • Advancing Beneficiation and/or Value Addition to our Agricultural and Mining Resource endowment;
  • Encouraging Private Sector Investment; and
  • Promoting Joint Ventures/ Public-Private Partnerships to boost the role and performance of State Owned Companies

To date, eighteen (18) of ARDA's twenty one (21) Estates are now under various forms of Partnerships and revival of these Estates in all Administrative Provinces of Zimbabwe can deliver more than just economic benefits. It can help attract or retain crucial businesses. Valuable relationships are created and deepened across the Agricultural Sector as Farmers, Entrepreneurs, Investors, Economic Development Professionals, Financial Professionals, Business Groups, Government Leaders and others work together to catalyze Strategic Partnerships as a key ingredient of a vibrant Agriculture Sector.

We at ARDA, the Board, Management and the entire Staff are convinced that PPPs is the way to go.

May I take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation for the support of our Shareholder – The Government of Zimbabwe, Employees and Strategic Partners who are operating at our various Estates, since the beginning of our journey to revive ARDA. I would also like to thank my colleagues on the ARDA Board for their continued support and guidance to the Company's Management, which certainly encourages the Management in meeting the challenges in the Authority's growth journey.