By Faith Chimutsa
Government is continuously creating an enabling environment for youth and women to prosper as businessmen and women in agriculture.
Coalitions of Agricultural Graduates of Zimbabwe (COGAZ) had a field day at one of its assisted farms Nkunzani Farm owned by Godfrey Nkunzani who made it through a partnership with a neighbour farmer Allan York.
Minister for Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Vangelus Haritatos attended the ostentatious event at Nkunzani farm in Mazowe District, Mash Central Province on Thursday.
Haritatos appluded the farming activities being carried by Godfrey Nkunzani and his partners.
“This is a commendable work being done by Allan York and Godfrey Nkunzani”, said Haritatos.
The Ministry has activated structures to ensure the unfolding agriculture transformation which leaves no one and no place behind.
“I am highly motivated by the level of our youths who are beginning to take agriculture seriously. Agriculture graduates are an important constituency for this country,” added Haritatos.
“The thrust and mindset must be anchored on seeking and exploiting entrepreneurial opportunities in agriculture. Skilled cadres including youth should therefore perceive agriculture as a business,” he said.
In the Second Republic, His Excellency, the President, on several occasions has been directing government ministers to establish functional Youth Desks, this includes the establishment of tge yoith Employment bank.
“The Ministry has a fully- fledged and vibrant Youth Desk to assist youths in agriculture. The Youth Desk through the Department of Agricultural Education which coordinates agricultural graduates and youths in need of Agricultural support and skills development.
Haritatos said the government is continuously creating an enabling environment for youth and women to thrive and prosper as businessmen and women in agriculture.
“In March 2020 Government created, and for the first time in history of the land reform programme, a youth quarter in the allocation of land at least 20%. He urged the youth to take advantage of this new despensation and access land.
“Land is a finite resource and the thinking is that you don’t have to own land in order to do business on land. There are a lot of opportunities for interested farmers to do joint ventures with landholders”, added Haritatos.
Godfrey Nkunzani was offered an offer letter for his farming land and got in a joint venture with a neighbouring farmer Allan York and he is now a success story.
“The Ministry has recently launched the Agricultural Education for Development 5.0 (AE4D 5). Curriculum replacing the Agricultural Education (AE2.0), for all the eight Agricultural Colleges.
This module focuses on producing strong entrepreneurs and not extensionists from our colleges,” explained Haritatos.
Government is expanding youth- focused interventions to take advantage of the youth demography.
The Presidential Rural Development Programme will employ just nearly a million people by 2025,” said Haritatos.
ARDA board chairman, Ivan Craig also concurred with Deputy Minister Vangelus Haritatos that the youths should be engaged in farming activities as they were so many projects involving the youths in farming.
ARDA is managing youths projects through the President’s farming schemes and the youths and women, girls included should be involved in these projects.