Staff shortage hits Kushinga Phikelela College
Marondera (Chaminuka News-New Ziana) – The staff rationalization that is being undertaken in the civil service has adversely affected some operations at Kushinga Phikelela National Farmer Training College, the college’s Principal, Balisi Nleya has said.
He was speaking at the college’s 28th graduation, prize and award ceremony that was held under the theme: “Agro-preneurship Through Innovation and Industrialization: A Drive Towards Vision 2030” last Friday.
“Our operations as a college have not been spared by the staff rationalization in the civil service. The most affected is the education and training, administration and human resources departments. The college is short of lecturers in the education and training department while the administration and human resources departments are now being manned by one officer, thereby making checks and balances difficult to implement.
“The workload is too much for the office bearers. The college does not have posts of tractor and bus drivers and ICT technicians on its Detailed Establishment Table (DET). The posts are vital for an institution of higher learning like Kushinga Phikelela. Our DET only provides for only three watchmen who are expected to provide security services to the college premises and farm. These security personnel fall far short to provide adequate security services of government property and as a result, the college recently lost centre pivot parts worth $45 500. We have also in the past lost irrigation pipes, livestock and electricity cables worth thousands of dollars,” said Nleya.
He said to try and mitigate the challenge, the college had been forced to hire contract labour as security guards but unfortunately, the costs of hiring these guards has been beyond the college’s financial capacity.
Staff houses, he added, were inadequate with several families sharing accommodation at the institution, a situation that was worsened by the coming of new members who were affected by rationalization in other government departments.
“Despite their resolve, morale among the staff populace remains low given the economic challenges that have not spared them,” the Principal bemoaned.
Meanwhile, Nleya said despite the challenges that they were facing, they had managed to record success in certain areas.
“Our staff members and students attended a Conservation Farming Training at Foundations for Farming in the capital in line with the concept of climate change. We also hosted more than 1 000 pupils from various primary and secondary schools and it is our hope that the educational tours will go a long way in assisting our young generation in appreciating farming as a profession of choice.
“The 2018/19 agricultural season was characterized by low rainfall which was poorly distributed but we managed to perform beyond expectations in terms of our projects. We grew 40 hectares of maize under Command Agriculture programme. We received the inputs only in December last year and this affected our yields but I am happy to say that we are still able to pay back the loan as well as retain maize for our hostel and livestock. Our poultry, dairy and small stock projects have also been doing well,” he said.
Chaminuka News-New Ziana