The Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union’s Youth Development Program (YDP) on March 16 hosted a stakeholder meeting at Crown Plaza Hotel in Harare.
The meeting was meant to shed more light on the vision ZFU has for the young people especially farmers in Zimbabwe and the steps the union has taken to accomplish its dream and also find areas of cooperation with the different stakeholders.
Amongst those who attended were government ministries, private sector, civil society, and development partners amongst others.
Speaking at the event, ZFU’s Executive Director Mr Paul Zakariya emphasized on the need for every sector to support agriculture because…
“Agriculture is a sensitive industry, you touch on the finances agriculture does not happen, you touch on the land itself agriculture is affected, every industry directly or indirectly influences agriculture,” he said.
Zimbabwe is an agro based economy and the majority of the population relies on agriculture and so the industry has job creation potentials.
“Agriculture provides a very important base for employability, which is why we need stakeholders to get involved in this very important means of production.
“We need to come together and come up with models that we can employ to get the benefit to flow to the young farmers,” said Mr Zakariya.
ZFU youth Chairperson Ruramiso Mashumba spoke of how the potential we have as a nation and a continent is not fully utilised as far as agriculture is concerned.
“Africa has the most arable land and so many young people, so how come we are food insecure,” she said.
As the leading farmer representative body in the country, ZFU knows the importance of agriculture and is always looking out for the growth of the industry.
Noticing that the majority of the union’s membership was in their sixties it became a concern to ZFU on how the elderly are copying in the fields.
“We saw that there was no succession plan, no one to take agriculture forward as the majority of the farmers were elderly people, many young people clearly had no interest in agriculture.
“This prompted us to look at what we were doing to help the young people and in 2011 over 40% of our membership consisted of young farmers,” said Zakariya.
Three of the young farmers present, David Rori from Honde Valley, Isaiah Bowani and Dominic Machingura had a presentation on what they are doing and the stakeholders were greatly inspired.
A display of their products under the label sustainably produced by young farmers was also done and everyone had a taste of the delicious, dried mangoes, pineapples and bananas.
“I would like to congratulate ZFU for the wonderful work they are doing,” said one of the stakeholders present.