Innovate to combat climate change: VP Chiwenga

Government has challenged young farmers to embrace and exploit innovation in combating effects of climate change induced challenges to agricultural production, as their ability to be inventive will have a telling effect on industrialisation and development towards an upper-middle income economy.

Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga made the call when he spoke at the 2023 National Young Farmers Awards in Harare yesterday.

These awards, now an annual event, were launched by President Mnangagwa in 2019 with the aim of recognising and awarding young farmers for their contribution in agricultural production and entrepreneurship.

This year’s event which had 50 winners ran under the theme ‘Food Security Everyday, Everywhere, Youth in Agriculture moving towards Vision 2030’ which resonates with Government’s mantra of leaving no one and no place behind.

Policies by Government to promote agriculture has seen the country remaining on-track to achieve food security, self-sufficiency, wheat self-sufficiency as well as nutrition security by 2025.

The quest for self-sufficiency in maize production saw overall output go up from 907 629 tonnes in 2020 to 2.7 million tons in 2021, well in excess of NDS 1 targeted levels of 1,8 million tonnes.

Government interventions towards drought proofing agriculture saw resilience in production during the 2021/22 and 2022/23 farming seasons, with 1,5 million tons and two million tonnes harvested, respectively.

“As we stride towards this vision, Government will continue to empower and encourage youth mainstreaming to ensure they contribute meaningfully to the growth and prosperity of our agricultural industry,” said VP Chiwenga.

“It is worth noting that youth in agriculture play a significant role in enhancing food and nutrition security through increased agricultural production.

“The challenge of climate change, Covid-19 and the conflict in Eastern Europe has prompted Government to come up with new strategies to ensure food security and nutrition at household level and also produce surpluses towards regional and international food security.

“I implore upon other youth to take advantage of vast opportunities within the agriculture sector to empower yourselves, and equip yourselves with new skills and knowledge especially now when the country is grappling from devastating effects of climate change.

“I want to challenge the youth to take a leading role in innovations and inventions to combat these problems.

“It is also pleasing to note that the majority of the smallholder farmers, in excess of three million, are steadily transiting from being largely subsistence to commercial farmers.

“As chairman of the Food Security and Nutrition Cluster, I am enthused to inform you that partnerships and collaborations with stakeholders have made Zimbabwe a food secure nation,” said VP Chiwenga.

Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Dr Anxious Masuka said youth were an important part of guaranteeing Zimbabwe sustainable food production.

He said they now had a dedicated fast line to get land under their quota so that they could contribute to the country’s agricultural production.

“The youth, because they have already gone through a level of education, are able to understand better.

“They are able to associate with all the developments better, I think they can bring in technology to be able to insulate themselves against the ravages of climate change,” said Minister Masuka.

One of the winners yesterday, Mr Cois Joubert of Milrite farm in Chipinge implored youth farmers to run the farm on the ground for them to succeed.

“It is important to note that there is no farmer that runs on its own, there is no one person running a farm, it is a team, the entire value chain.

“You will not be able to run a farm from anywhere other than the farm, you need to put boots on the ground,” said Mr Joubert.

The farmer of the year was Taremekedzwa Chidawanyika while Wiriranai Ngwaru clinched the small scale farmer of the year award. The female farmer of the year was Vimbai Dzingirai.


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