Farmers need technical assistance

By Archford Chirimudombo

MARONDERA- A majority of the hundreds of thousands of farmers who have been
beneficiaries of the land reform programme and those who acquired it through other
means are not agriculturalists and need solid technical guidance for them to
maximise the land.

Hence more farmer trainers are required to assist them after the Government made
agriculture and food security a priority under the National Development Strategy-1

Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Minister Dr John
Masuka made these remarks in a speech read by the Ministry’s chief director of
research and specialist services Dr Dumisani Kutywayo at a graduation ceremony at
Kushinga Phikelela Agricultural College last week.

He said: “Zimbabwe undertook a transformative land reform programme more than
20 years ago, which ushered in 21 000 A2 and 360 000 A1 farmers. Perhaps, over

90 percent of these farm beneficiaries are non-agriculturalists These farm
beneficiaries needed, and still need skills for this newly-found occupation.

“It is therefore pleasing for us to witness the injection of yet another group of young
agriculture professionals into our agriculture sector, and this increase in the number
of agriculture practitioners should also translate into improved agriculture production
and productivity, especially in the rural areas where 70 percent of the population
derive their livelihood from agriculture.

“It is worth noting that the future of agriculture in our country lies in the hands of
young men and women who are graduating from our agriculture colleges and other
institutions of higher learning. Statistics worryingly shows that many of those who are
involved in the agriculture sector are ageing members of our community. Critically
important is the fact that these graduates must take their position now in this
important economic sector to sustain food security for the masses of our people.”

Dr Masuka said the country must not just produce graduates for jobs, but graduates
who will venture into farming and become competitive players in the commercial
agriculture sector.

As the nation pushes harder with the agriculture transformation agenda, land is not
increasing hence new technologies should be introduced to maximise on the
available land.

“New technologies, sound extension advice, increasing the number of adequately
trained farmers and collaborative strategies will make us build a sustainable and
vibrant agriculture sector,” he said.

The transformation of livelihoods for the attainment of Vision 2030 that the country
seeks is based on an agro-centric approach to development as over 70 percent of
the country’s population is involved in agriculture.

The graduation ceremony was themed: “Towards Vision 2030 through Human
Capital Development.”

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