The Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services, Kazembe Kazembe has challenged the rural folk to take advantage of the technological advancements that area happening in the country to improve their livelihoods through research and development.
Kazembe was speaking at the official launch of yet another Community Information Centre at Charandura, Hama Growth Point in the Midlands Province. The occasion followed hot on the heels of a similar event where the minister officially opened another CIC 24 hours earlier in Beitbridge.
Addressing hundreds of people that had gathered to witness the momentous event, the minister challenged people from rural areas, especially those that have access to the CICs to take advantage of the technological developments to improve different aspects of their lives that include health, animal husbandry, agriculture and many more.
"Research and Development in the use of ICTs is key and, in this respect, the government has taken the necessary steps to facilitate Research and Development, through establishment of CICs in order to come up with home grown solutions," said Kazembe.
He added, "The aim of the Community Information Centre concept is to create centres where the community can access and use ICTs to promote their businesses, advance their education and improve their livelihood."
The minister reckoned that the province has in the past had water problems hence, the CIC will help in coming up with precision farming which will see farmers practicing some kind of farming which will be idea in conserving water, inputs and many others.
"Precision farming, a new farming system powered by the new technological advancements will go a long way in helping farmers with what will call precise farming, that is applying what the crops want at that particular time without wasting any resources at all. It is a bit conservative and economic rather than previously when farmers would just do things randomly and at times applying inputs where they are not even needed."
The minster also revealed that this can also be done with livestock rearing in rural areas.
"Apart from precision agriculture, ICTs can be used to boost livestock rearing, linkages in terms of raw materials and markets to sell finished products such as greens, chickens or meat. In Manicaland, we have started yet another lucrative programme where we are using ICTS to boost the health system in the communities. Yes, you might not have specialists in rural health centres, but with the aid of technology, specialists can check and prescribe medication for a patient who is hundred kilometers away within a short space of time. Now I think you understand the importance of ITCs," Kazembe said.
Fourteen (14) CICs have been established in Midlands Province alone. All fourteen (14) of them including Charandura CIC are now operational. The other thirteen (13) operational CICs are Donga, Zvishavane, Gweru, Kwekwe, Mvuma, Gokwe, Redcliff, Shurugwi, Zhombe, Mkoba, Mbizo, Nembudziya and Mberengwa.
Gweru CIC is the Midlands' provincial CIC and provides free training on basic skills in ICTs.
Meanwhile, as the norm, the minister handed over 15 computers to five schools with each school getting three computers and 17 carry bags.