CHEGUTU – THE partnership between the Government and the EU-funded
Zimbabwe Agricultural Growth Programme (ZAPG) has seen the establishment of
six Agricultural Centres of Excellence (ACEs).
These are at Chibero Agricultural College and the Matopos Research Institute, and
then four District Agricultural Centres of Excellence (DACEs) set up in Chegutu,
Insiza, Matobo and Mhondoro-Ngezi.
The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development received
the centres during a handover of the District Agricultural Centre of Excellence Agritex
DACE Centre of Excellence by the Zimbabwe Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation
Services (ZAKIS) at Rudaviro Co-operative in Chegutu recently.
The handover ceremony was attended by representatives from Government
departments, ZAKIS representatives, parastatals and farmers.
Guest of honour at the handover, Evelyn Ndoro, who is Provincial Agritex Extension
Officer (PAEO), highlighted the practices being promoted at the ACEs and DACEs
saying they dovetailed perfectly with Zimbabwes development agenda, Vision 2030,
the National Development Strategy 1, the Agriculture and Food Systems
Transformation Strategy, the Agriculture Recovery Plan, the Livestock Recovery and
Growth Plan, as well as the Horticulture Recovery and Growth Plan.
A tour of the projects at Chegutu DACE proved that DACE supports the
Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme, the Presidential Fisheries Programme, the
Presidential Rural Development programme and the Presidential Horticultural
programme as stakeholders witnessed the projects being undertaken.
Ndoro explained that significant infrastructural investments had been made at these
sites in order to maintain excellence in the integrated agricultural research, education
and extension system.
She highlighted that through the support of ZAKIS project, the Ministry launched the
Agriculture Education for Development 5.0 Curriculum in August 2021 that has seen
the creation of ZimAgriHub portal, where information has been digitalised for farmers
to access agricultural information on the internet.
Ndoro urged farmers to make use of the portal adding that agriculture changes,
hence the need for farmers to keep abreast of new farming information.
She encouraged farmers to utilise the training they receive from Agricultural
Extension Officers (AEOs) in order to transform their lives and to guard jealously the
infrastructure that has been left in their hands by ZAKIS.
She assured ZAKIS that the centres will be kept on functioning well.
The District Agritex Extension Agritex Officer (DAEO), Josiline Katanda, gave a
breakdown of the infrastructure and assets that the ZAKIS project has supported the
district with as follows: five hectare fenced piece of land, one hectare under drip
irrigation, one borehole drilled, training facility, DACOM weather station, two 10m x
10m fish ponds, two tank stands, construction of a fowl run, which is still under
construction, renovated buildings at Wicklow, Msengezi and Mubaira for the
establishment of the districts three Information Centres, DACOM weather station,
two fish ponds, two tank stands, one vehicle, a Toyota Land Cruiser, four Honda
motor cycles among other assets being used at the training centre.
ZAKIS representative, Ronald Vheremu, thanked the Government and the Ministry of
Agriculture for their unwavering support.
Demetria Chipwanya, from the District Development Co-ordinators office thanked
the guest of honour for unpacking Vision 2030 for the audience and encouraged
farmers to revitalise the industrial sector through farming pointing out, Nyika
inovakwa nevene vayo. – Rural Communication Services