YESTERDAY we reported that farmers in the Matabeleland region are expecting to harvest enough maize and traditional grains to last more than 12 months.
Overall, all districts across the country have no deficit but there are some wards within the districts where some families might not harvest enough due to several reasons.
According to the latest Crop and Livestock Assessment report issued by the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement, in Matabeleland South Province farmers from Bulilima, Gwanda, Insiza, Matobo and Umzingwane are expected to harvest maize and traditional grains which will last more than 12 months.
The sweet news of the bumper harvest comes as Zimbabwean youths have been challenged to be proactive and apply for land at relevant offices in their respective districts and provinces to be placed on the waiting list.
Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister, Dr Anxious Masuka urged youths to also consider joint ventures.
“I acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 8 April, 2021 pertaining to the above matter. You are hereby advised that the Ministry has already complied with the directive to prioritise youths in land allocation. In this regard you are advised to approach provinces and districts where land is allocated,” said Dr Masuka responding to Zanu-PF acting Secretary for Youth Affairs Cde Tendai Chirau’s letter.
We commend Government for making a bold move to prioritise the youth in land redistribution.
When the land reform programme started in 2000, today’s youth were still too young to benefit.
Now that a land audit has been carried out, land allocation must also be based on age. Educational background can also be considered as a number of agriculture graduates are unemployed yet they have the necessary skills to help Zimbabwe regain its breadbasket of Africa status.
The bumper harvest expected this season must serve as a reminder of the need to have more youths in agriculture so as to make use of modern technology in farming.
In a world where climate-induced natural disasters are the order of the day, it is the youth that can innovate Zimbabwe back to a farming giant.
There is enough land for everyone, especially the youth. It is no longer about the size of the farm but productivity.
If the youth are given small pieces of land, they can become more productive than those with huge tracks of land.
Innovation, technology and good agronomic practices could be the answer to most of our problems. The era of owning a farm much larger than the farmer’s capabilities is now over.
Young people must be given a chance. Young people must be given land so that they live up to their full potential.
This year’s bumper harvest can be achieved by the youth with or without good rains. Irrigation, good crop varieties, modern farming methods and other innovations can help maintain production levels.
It is only the youth that can lead us to an era where we no longer solely rely on rain-fed agriculture.
After all, the elders fought for the land so that the youth can be productive.