Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
THE Youth in Agriculture Apex Council Board yesterday commended President Mnangagwa for his unwavering support and commitment to young farmers, a development that has resulted in them being involved in the sector that is the backbone of the economy.
Addressing youths during a student start up summit launch and digital transformation conference yesterday, chairperson of the Youth in Agriculture Apex Council Board and National Young Champion Farmer for 2019 Mr John Muchenje said with Government intervention, the country is going to be the food basket of the region.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank President Mnangagwa for his leadership especially to us young farmers and innovators. The President has committed to avail more land to the youth after the land audit, allocation of a quota of mechanisation equipment, support of the youth desk under the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement which has now been awarded directorship post, youth direct involvement on Command Agriculture and Presidential inputs,” he said.
Mr Muchenje said Government has committed itself to ensuring that youth continue to penetrate the industry through capacitating and honouring those who have excelled in agriculture.
“I’m grateful to the organisers, the sponsors and most importantly to the Government led by President Mnangagwa for the support they have rendered to us as young farmers and innovators over the years. As you know agriculture is the new frontier for Zimbabwe’s development and equally youth participation is the cornerstone for its success,” he said.
Mr Muchenje said agriculture has a lot of opportunities that can be utilised by the youths and innovative people adding that agriculture is an industry that needs constant technological adjustments.
He said the introduction of technology in agriculture will change the perception of young people who refer to agriculture as a dirty job or profession for uneducated.
Mr Muchenje said through agri-tech more young people should get involved in agriculture and be productive to eradicate hunger in the country.
“Zimbabwe has vast tracts of land which are under-utilised and we feel that the land audit must be finalised as soon as possible and more land be allocated to the youths. With such great minds we cannot be seen importing maize and wheat.
“I challenge you as young innovators to work with other young farmers to put this to an end before 2023. It is us who can return Zimbabwe to being the bread basket of Africa. We are the people and the time is now. This is where your minds come in as innovator hub club where students with innovation and start-up ideas come together as they contribute to job creation, economic development and industrialisation.
“I have seen that you are striving to be Zimbabwe’s leading start-up club for students (including recent graduates) and you are targeting youth from all over Africa to join the Innovator’s Hub Club movement thus complementing the Zimbabwe is open for business mantra and international community re-engagement. I challenge you to go beyond Africa. It must be an international hub club,” he said.
Seedco donated 10 tonnes of seed maize to youth farmers at the event.