By Nesia Mhaka
Government has challenged agricultural college graduates to play a key role in rebuilding the sector as it is pivotal in economic revival and the attainment of Vision 2030. This came out during a meeting between the graduates and experts in the industry at Gwebi Agricultural College recently. The meeting, which was organised by Coalition of Agricultural Graduates of Zimbabwe (CAGOZ), was meant to promote youth participation in the agriculture sector.
Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Deputy Minister Cde Vangelis Haritatos said the agricultural sector was the prime mover of Zimbabwe’s Vision 2030 and was a major source of livelihood for over 67 percent of Zimbabwe’s population.
“Zimbabwe is proud of you (graduates) and the quality of human resources that we have,” he said. “I would like to challenge you, agricultural graduates, to rebuild and strengthen our agricultural sector which is the backbone of our economy.
“Involvement of agricultural graduates in the economic development matrix is expected to give greater impetus to the country’s bid to reap maximum benefits from its natural resources, particularly land and good climate.”
Deputy Minister Haritatos said Zimbabwe expressed concern that the country was importing food and this had to be corrected.
“We want to reclaim our bread basket status and to restore the agricultural sector as the greatest contributor to Gross Domestic Product,” he said.
“I have heard today that CAGOZ’s predominant need is access to agricultural resources, mainly land and agricultural finance. I would like to assure you that Government is committed to revamping the agricultural sector by supporting the right people.”
CAGOZ deputy director Mr Francis Vengai said agriculture was a serious business that required Government support.
“As graduates we are geared to assist in the development of our country through agriculture,” he said. “We are facing shortage of land as the land distribution process does not prioritise agricultural qualifications.
“Government also has to include women in land distribution because they play a fundamental role in agricultural production.”