Govt pledges to support, train young farmers

HGovernment will support identified needs by young farmers to enable them to penetrate the international market through capacity building and training in respective value chains, a Government official said.

In an interview after the appointment of Midlands province-based young champion farmer, Mr John Muchenje as agricultural ambassador by DeutschConnect, a Germany-based organisation that seeks to link Southern African Startups and Young Entrepreneurs with German business ecosystem, Mr Francis Vengai, deputy director in the Department of Agricultural Education and Farmer Training responsible for interfacing with activities at Government-run agricultural colleges said: “Government is there to facilitate coordination of farmer training programmes provided on demand by farmers across gender, young and disadvantaged groups such as women.

“As Government we are going to support identified needs to penetrate the international market through capacity building/ training in respective value chains. We applaud the appointment of ambassador Muchenje on his new post to connect Zimbabwe and Sadc countries to the German market which is a milestone in our endeavour to empower the youths to international markets which is currently a missing link for our champion young farmers,” he said.

Mr Vengai said Government shall also provide the ambassador access to some statistics vis-a-vis student statistics at colleges and post graduates farmers who have been successful in their fields of specialty and provide opportunities for inviting progressive youths from Sadc to come and visit champion farmers in Zimbabwe to help promote agro-tourism amongst the regional countries.

“My department is currently hosting the Youth Desk responsible for agricultural programmes. So it’s part of our mandate to empower the youths through entrepreneurial skills development courses and Agropoles approach to agriculture,” he said.

Mr Vengai said Zimbabwe will once more become visible for good services to the international community through supply of unpolluted agro-products (organic produce).

“Youths benefit through foreign currency generation and employment creation, the youths are our leaders of tomorrow so this exposure is empowering. A database of who is doing what in agriculture now becomes a reality,” he said.

Mr Muchenje said it was a great honour to land such a regional post which seeks to empower young farmers in the region.

“It shows that Zimbabwe is still being recognised as a serious farming nation and as young people we need to make sure we retain our regional bread basket status. My first task is to have a database of young farmers throughout the country then the region.

“International partnerships, markets and skills transfers through exchange programmes will boost our agricultural sector. Germany is well known for advanced technology and innovations and I will make sure that such skills and equipment benefit our nation and Southern Africa region,” he said.

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