‘Value adding agricultural products will empower youths’

Ashton Mutyavaviri

IN a move attributable to Government’s call for inclusivity in every agriculture value chain, many youths countrywide are value adding different agricultural commodities to enhance their earnings and spawn national economic growth.

An enterprising youthful farmer from Chimanimani, Manicaland, Mr Oliver Mafukidze recently revealed that he was producing juice from oranges. Mr Mafukidze, who plies his trade in Rusitu Valley, said they had the capacity to produce 1 000 litres of per month. Their juice can be for as long as two years without losing its value.

“Following Government’s call for youths’ participation in every agriculture value chain and the use of locally available resources to transform the livelihoods, we took this opportunity to value add oranges for export and earn some foreign currency,” said Mr Mafukidze.

He added that Chimanimani produced lots of oranges, which young people should take advantage of to enhance their lives. Value addition will not only transform young people’s livelihoods, but also preserve the environment, he explained.

Mr Mafukidze explained that they were looking forward to growing their operation to become one of the biggest companies producing orange juice should they get the requisite funding.

Another youth doing fish farming and value addition in Kariba, Mr Victor Kubvoruno concurred saying value adding agricultural commodities was a demonstration of youths’ involvement in employment creation.

Mr Kubvoruno said he had a fish drying machine with the capacity of drying 60 large fish per day.

He added that they were eyeing export markets in the near future if they secure enough drying machines and funding to produce large volumes.

Government introduced the youth desk in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development to enable the roll-out of programmes tailored to increase the number of young farmers and value chain players in the agriculture sector

Anchored around the concept that farming is a business on its own, the Second Republic’s decision to invest in the youth demographic’s participation in agriculture is an endorsement of their important role in the processes of transformation and the push to seamlessly replace the ageing crop of farmers with young blood expected to take the country’s agriculture into the future.

Youths’ engagement in agriculture continues to be an important aspect of the country’s development as they bring in fresh energy and skills for maximum production and growth of the agriculture sector.

Young people have benefited immensely from the Green Jobs for Rural Youth Employment programme, which was implemented by Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Ministry Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development.

The project was funded by the Korea International Agency Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and has since benefitted youths from six districts – Chimanimani, Kariba, Kwekwe, Mazowe, Chegutu and Marondera.

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