The Zimbabwe Farmers Union has partnered some seed and fertiliser manufacturers to revive and establish Young Farmers' Clubs in schools throughout the country, an official said yesterday. The Young Farmers' Clubs collapsed over the years when the country faced economic challenges triggered by sanctions that were imposed by some Western countries.
Seed manufacturer Seed Co and fertiliser company Nico-Orgo have so far taken up the initiative while plans are afoot to rope in seed houses Pannar and Pioneer. Under the partnership, the companies extend seed and fertiliser to students at selected schools while ZFU agronomists would provide technical advice.
ZFU communications officer Mr Tinashe Kairiza said the project was meant to cultivate interest in agriculture among schoolchildren.
"The thrust of the project is to impart sound agronomic skills to children. We realise that there is a skills gap among the current farmers. Children do not have to graduate into adulthood to know how to effectively run farms," he said.
Mr Kairiza said the project, which was being tried at 11 schools in the Murewa district of Mashonaland East province, has also drawn the interest of Agritex and other key stakeholders. He said once the project was in full swing, a competition would be introduced to reward the best performing clubs.
"We will shortly be introducing a competition through which we will be able to gauge and measure the progress of the children," he said.