By Faith Chimutsa
Zimbabwe Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Services (ZAKIS) project has been instrumental in the development and deployment of various digital innovations that support agricultural development in Zimbabwe.
These include the ZimAgriHub portal, a website designed to collate all relevant agricultural research and education information for the country. The project is actively involved in the digitalisation of the Ministry archives, so that they can be uploaded on the ZimAgriHub portal. This should make key agricultural information accessible to farmers, researchers, and other stakeholders.
Speaking at the official handover of ZAKIS project to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Land, Agriculture, Fisheries,Water and Rural Development, Dr John Basera said the impactful digital solution developed by ZAKIS is the Zim Agric Extension In-Service Training application.
He added that to date, over 5,800 Ministry staff have been onboard to this online training platform, where continuous learning and capacity building for Ministry staff is conducted.
In addition, in October 2022, we awarded prizes to the five top-performing extension officers in the country, based on results obtained from examinations conducted on the In-Service Training platform. ZAKIS is developing the Lead Farmer Training Application and we hope that our appeal for them to develop the Virtual College will be implemented as soon as possible.
“ZAKIS has established ward information centres in Mhondoro-Ngezi, Chegutu, Insiza and Matobo districts where farmers can access the internet and audio-visual training material on various agricultural practices. The ward information centres have the potential to revolutionise extension service delivery in the country. The plan is now to replicate this concept in every ward in the country, to ensure farmers have access to pertinent information”, said Basera.
“As the ministry we also appreciates the efforts of the CTDO, a Consortium under ZAKIS working together with the Ministry in developing the Agriculture Education, Extension and Research (AEER) and the Agriculture Marketing and Trade (AMT) Plans which the Ministry will launch in due course”, he explained.
Speaking at the same occasion WELTHUNGERHILFE Country Director, Matthias Spaeth, revealed that the main objective of the ZAKIS project is to contribute to improved agricultural productivity by implementing an integrated research, education and extension framework that is farmer centric.
Spaeth said the ZAKIS consortium comprises Community Technology Development Organisation (CTDO), the International Crop Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Sustainable Agriculture Technology (SAT) with WHH as lead.
“Various interventions have made by the project in pursuit of this objective to integrate agricultural research, education, and extension for the benefit of the farmer”, said Spaeth.
“Our 2021-2024 Strategic focus as an organisation is anchored on four pillars, namely food systems, responding to the climate crisis, partnerships as well as digitalisation and innovation”,he added.
In Zimbabwe, Welthungerhilfe has since the country’s independence in 1980, which have been supporting development through various programmes and projects which mainly focus on food and nutrition security, as well as on increasing incomes for the poorest populations.
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