MARONDERA- Female graduates dominated at a recent graduation ceremony at
Kushinga Phikelela Agricultural College.
A total of 32 of the graduates who received their Commercial Farming diplomas were
females while 20 were males.
College Principal Caroline Chipomho said the graduates managed to complete their
course despite the challenges they faced as they were determined to produce
manpower for the agriculture sector.
“The teaching and training for our students went on well using various methods. It is
pleasing to note that despite the challenges experienced, we managed to uphold the
desired high training standards. These students were exposed to rigorous practical
work. They were involved in the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme which is
cumbersome work in itself.
“They were allocated plots to manage, starting with holding out and nurturing the
crop until harvesting. All the maize produced from these students’ plots is retained by
the college for students’ consumption, with the other crops like sunflower and soya
beans used for livestock feed.”
In line with the college’s mandate of education and training, the college, in
conjunction with Small Holder Irrigation Rehabilitation (SIRP) trained some youths in
different practical courses.
Chipomho said the students under the programme were trained in garment making
and bakery and confectionary and were promised starter packs by the sponsors of
the programme to kick start their projects.
Meanwhile, some of the graduates interviewed by Chaminuka News said they were
ready to play their part by meaningfully contributing to the country’s agriculture
“During the course of my studies, I managed to acquire skills that I am ready to use
as I intend to become a farmer. If I get adequate funding for the project that I intend
to venture on, I will work hard so that I can be in a position to contribute meaningfully
to the sector,” Alice Kudziwa said.
Another graduate, Hamilton Mbofana said: “I have been educated enough to know
and teach our people that food comes from agriculture. It will be my responsibility to
ensure that the nation is well-fed through the knowledge that I acquired during my
Meanwhile, the acting Principal of Kushinga Phikelela Agricultural College
highlighted some of the challenges faced by the institution such as water shortages,
operating with old centre pivots and staff shortages.
“We are facing several challenges that we hope our parent Ministry will help us to
overcome. The water supply at our institution is erratic because the Zimbabwe
National Water Authority (ZINWA) pumps are not working efficiently. We end up
going for long periods without accessing the precious liquid. Our centre pivots are
now old and this has been resulting in a lot of operational breakdowns, thereby
affecting our irrigation schedules.
“On staffing, we have been facing challenges throughout the year as we have failed
to fill vacant posts. As it stands, our college staff complement should be 86 members
but only 62 posts are filled. Some of the vacant posts are key for our operations.
While the college managed to fulfill its mandate of education and training, we have
faced challenges in transporting our students for educational tours. The college is
experiencing a serious shortage of vehicles. Most of them are obsolete and therefore
expensive to repair and maintain,” she said.