Youths to spearhead agricultural transformation towards food self-sufficiency

Mangaliso Lawrence Kabulika

YOUTH desk chief programmes coordinator with the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Mr Nickros Kajengo has urged youths to take the lead in driving agricultural transformation to ensure the country achieves food self-sufficiency.

Speaking at the National Champion Young Farmer Awards held in Harare recently, Mr Kajengo said the youths held the key to transforming the agricultural landscape adding that there was need to tap into their enthusiasm, innovation, and fresh perspectives in revolutionising the agricultural sector and securing a sustainable future.

“It is essential that we empower them with the necessary resources, skills, and support to drive this vital transformation. By doing so, we create a platform for them to thrive and contribute significantly to our nation’s food security goals,” he said.

Mr Kajengo further stressed the importance of embracing technology and sustainable practices in agriculture. He urged young farmers to leverage innovative solutions to enhance productivity and mitigate the impact of climate change on agricultural production.

“They have the advantage of being tech-savvy. By harnessing digital tools, precision farming techniques, and eco-friendly practices, they can maximise yields and ensure the long-term sustainability of our agricultural sector,” he added.

Minister of Youth Empowerment Development and Vocational Training, Tinotenda Machakaire who also attended the event observed that Zimbabwe must not import food when it has youths who can produce it.

“We must tap into the incredible potential of our youths and utilise their hands for food production. Zimbabwe should not rely on food imports when we have a generation of capable young individuals who can contribute to agricultural production.

“By empowering our youths and providing them with the necessary resources, we can achieve self-sufficiency and strengthen our economy through local food production,” said Machakaire.

Machakaire also urged youths not to rely on white collar jobs after attaining educational qualifications but to take agriculture as a noble profession.

“Education should not solely lead our youth towards white collar jobs. I encourage our young generation to consider agriculture as a noble profession. Let us break the stereotype and embrace the immense opportunities that lie within the agricultural sector.

“It is through agriculture that we can contribute to the Vision 2030 of becoming an upper middle economy which our President is aiming as well as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” he said.

The awards were launched in 2019 by President Mnangagwa. This year’s ceremony witnessed various awards and prizes being given to 50 young farmers under categories such as best in maize production, horticulture, ornamental crops, livestock, innovation and value addition among others.

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