WITH the 2022/23 summer cropping season now in full swing after a phase of hectic preparations, the Provincial Integrated Youth Development Centres have shifted focus to training youth farmers on producing fodder crops, which are vital for supplementing cattle diet.
This feeds into the Government’s policy to mainstream participation of the youths in national programmes in line with Vision 2030, which advocates leaving no demography behind.
Agriculture is one of the major pillars of the country’s economy, hence the Government’s thrust to empower youths who constitute 62 percent of the total population of Zimbabwe.
The Ministry’s Rural Development chief livestock specialist Ms Rutendo Nyahoda recently told The Herald that every youth training centre or hub last year received cattle and the number of cattle received varied depending on the number of districts in a particular province. She added that the programme was successfully running in all provinces.
In an interview yesterday, Midlands provincial livestock officer Mr Zivanai Matore said:
“We have 99 head of cattle at the youth hub farm along Kwekwe-Mvuma road and we are looking forward to growing fodder grasses and other forage plants such as lablab, sun hemp and velvet beans, which are rich in protein. We reserved 10 hectares for the project.
“Youths in the province will benefit from practical lessons on forage and fodder production for livestock.”
Apart from educating youths on how to produce fodder, the centre also acts as a demonstration site for good animal husbandry practices.
“The centre actually acts as a demonstration site where youths come and learn new skills for improving animal rearing. The youths are learning good animal husbandry practices – how to feed the animals properly, how to breed them and their health among other things. The ultimate goal is to enable our youths to do most of the agriculture enterprises,” said Mr Matore.
He added that their vision was to increase agricultural ventures at the youth development centre and make sure youths get access to land to practise agriculture.
Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development chief director responsible for Agriculture Advisory Services Professor Obert Jiri recently said:
“Youth trainings have been initiated by the Ministry of Agriculture to develop youths’ skills in best agricultural practices. More than 3 000 youths have undergone training since the launch of the programme last year. Our youths are really interested in this initiative therefore we are expecting to have more of them participating in these provincial hubs.”
The President last year directed each provincial minister to identify a 500-hectare piece of land, which would be dedicated to youths’ projects, as part of the Government’s policy to ensure youths participated in national programmes.
The Government has pledged its full support through several agriculture-enhancing projects as the youths strive to take part in the turning around of the country’s agricultural fortunes.