The Sunday News
Judith Phiri, Business Reporter
YOUNG agriculture entrepreneurs who have emerged in the country, taking up farming as a viable career option, are playing a crucial role in creating sustainable food systems.
This growing interest by the young people could contribute to food security in a country that has struggled with food shortages for more than a decade.
In an interview, young farmer and the Zimbabwe Agricultural Society (ZAS) marketing assistant, Mr Mambo Muntu Matienga said the future was bright for young agriculture entrepreneurs.
“Statistics show that about 57 per cent of Zimbabwean women between ages 20 and 31 and 47 per cent of men in the same age bracket have taken keen interest into farming of late. This shows that the future for young agriculture entrepreneurs is bright, with a noticeable percentage of them contributing to feeding Zimbabwe and developing it economically,” said Mr Matienga.
He said with most of the youths trying to acquire land, form cooperatives and others upscaling their production, it was a clear sign that through passion, hope, hardwork and perseverance they will be major contributors as youthful farmers.
Mr Matienga who is into potatoes, tomatoes and onions production in Mrehwa District, encouraged other youths to utilize Government’s interventions to assist young farmers.
“One thing to keep in mind is that agriculture is not easy and it’s a gamble between the farmer inputs and land, it’s either you win or you lose. As young agriculture entrepreneurs participate in programmes setup by Government to assist you grow and better your production,” he added.
Meanwhile, Government is currently carrying out nationwide youth farmers profiling in a bid to ascertain how best to capacitate them so that they continue playing a significant role in the agriculture sector which is contributing enormously to the economy recovery.
According to the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement about 40 percent of farmers in the country are youths.
Agriculture has been one sector reducing unemployment among the youths who make up about half of the country’s 13 million people.
The Ministry also set up a youth desk which plays a pivotal role in identifying challenges and gaps that the youths face in the agriculture space.
The desk is meant to address the challenges and close the gaps that exist in the production and productivity processes.