By Staff Reporter
THE youth desk in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate & Rural Resettlement is working to ensure youths in the country are mainstreamed into agriculture as the sector can provide employment and sustainable incomes for them.
Youth account for 60% of Zimbabwean’s population (Zim-Stat 2013) and head of the Youth desk in the ministry Nickross Kajengo said “the youth demographic dividened” offer a dynamic workforce that is innovative, have a high up take of technological know-how and the ability to take on significant level of risk.
“The agricultural sector presents huge opportunity for the creation of employment to absorb the youth and ensure achievement of food security for future generations. Since our establishment in 2016 we have managed to push for a number of initiatives that support youth in agriculture bring more on board. We have undertaken workshops and launched a number of platforms that support youth in agriculture”.
Among some of the achievement by the youth desk include supporting launching financial literacy in communities, referral of youths to financial institutions for assistance, branding and profiling for youth.
The desk has also provided on information on access to markets, promoted the inclusion of young farmers in tobacco production and also launched online applications supporting agriculture with Polytechnic students.
Kajengo said with global population expected to increase from 7 billion to 9 billion by 2050,with youth accounting for about 14% there was need to ensure food security especially in rural communities by incorporating youths in to agriculture and its value chains.
He said the desk was now pushing for the formation of agropoles as a means to address the issue of scarcity of land and ever increasing demand for the resource with youths set to be the major beneficiary of the policy.
Kajengo also said the policy had received the nod from President Emmerson Mnangagwa who at the Youth Indaba said youths will receive priority in the allocation of land as long as they approached the ministry of agriculture as groups.
Additionally Kajengo said the desk had made managed to correct the poor branding of agriculture and correcting a perception of agriculture as an unattractive career option for the youth.
However, Kajengo said despite the success recorded by his desk since formation challenges still remained particularly the delay in setting of youth desk in sister ministries as this will strengthen the integration of youths into the mainstream economy.
Kajengo also applauded the establishment of the Empower and Women banks as avenues to provide financing to key demographics in the country but resources extended to them remained short of demand.