The number of farmers venturing into farming locally is on the rise. It is not that surprising because one of the most viable industries to start businesses in right now is farming. In fact, it is just that the local farming industry has been rocked by a myriad of challenges over the years but it is huge. It is still regarded as the mainstay of the Zimbabwean economy something President Mnangagwa highlighted ever since his early days in office. Recently the National Young Champion Farmers Awards were held at Botanic Gardens in Harare. President Mnangagwa was the guest of honour and handed over prizes to the awardees. The mere fact that a whole award ceremony was conducted to acknowledge young farmers is clear enough to show that young farmers are becoming actively involved in farming.
Farming Interests And Some Interesting Insights
I am not going to dwell on the awards per se but I shall draw and emphasise talking points that I feel are pertinent. I am going to start off by highlighting young people’s farming interests as evidenced by farming activities done by those who received awards. Some of the farming activities that young people are doing are crop production e.g. maize, wheat, soya beans, cabbage, cotton and tobacco. Some are into horticulture and unique fields like lawn production. Forestry, apiculture, small grains, and small livestock production (including dairy and meat production) are also areas in which young farmers are venturing into. Young people are also emerging in the tech scene by coming up with tech innovations for use in agriculture.
It is common knowledge that young people generally have difficulties in accessing land and to actually own it. This has not deterred most young aspiring farmers who have pursued the route of renting land. I believe this has been made easier especially considering that a few months ago government allowed that farm or landowners can now sublet (something that was labelled illegal before). So if you are an aspiring young farmer, do not be held back by not having land; approach those who have and rent it.
Access To Financing And Related Support
The President stated that young farmers should be accommodated more when it comes to input schemes, mechanisation and irrigation programmes. He said that the government will work towards addressing the needs of young farmers. He was referring to aspects such as financing, market penetration and extension services amongst other needs. He also highlighted that it is important that young people become more active in horticulture, forestry and animal husbandry. Emphasis was also laid on how that value addition must be enhanced for the aforementioned agro-industries.
The President also encouraged media to play a supportive role by giving young farmers media coverage. This, he said, will inspire more and more young people to start farming ventures. Perrance Shiri, Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement indicated that it is not wise to leave young people out when looking at the value chains in the agriculture sector. This, he said, is premised on the fact that young people account for the lion’s share of the workers demographic in Zimbabwe.
The government has also established an Agriculture Youth Desk to provide the necessary support to young farmers in Zimbabwe. Support will range from the provision of relevant technical and specialist information to modern farming approaches. Provincial centres for this initiative are currently being set up across the country. If you would like to get more information on this and how you can get assistance you can contact Mr Jangano on +263 712 835 433 or +263 773 836 194.
So, young farmers, this is your time to go out there and make money. There is no question about the sustainable viability of agribusinesses. Most people who are running great businesses right now are focusing on agriculture. Some projections by some think tanks have postulated that the next generation of billionaires on the African continent will be from the agriculture industry.