Youths here have petitioned the Government to give them priority in the allocation of sugar cane plots in Chiredzi as part of an empowerment drive to ensure they participate in the mainstream economy.
Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Deputy Minister Tino Machakaire said young people in Masvingo wanted to be prioritised in the allocation of cane plots.
He said allocating youths the plots dovetailed with Government's thrust to make Zimbabwe an upper middle income economy by 2030. Speaking in Chikombedzi last week during a Family Sport Fun Day organised by First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa and his ministry, Cde Machakaire said he would soon approach Masvingo Minister of State Ezra Chadzamira asking for the allocation of cane plots to young people.
"The issues that young people here have include the allocation of cane plots to empower them," he said.
"Youths also need to be given plots for them to grow sugar cane and actively participate in the economy of their country.
"We will soon be knocking at Minister Chadzamira's door so that youths also get cane plots in Chiredzi. Young people also have to participate in such money-spinning ventures and we will make sure they are assisted."
Cde Machakaire said his ministry stood ready to assist young entrepreneurs with capital to finance their projects so that they contribute to the development of the economy through job creation. He said youths should form cooperatives and approach Government for funding. But it is the prospects of venturing into sugar cane farming by youths that has stirred excitement, with many unemployed youths angling to benefit.
The push for more youths to venture into cane farming comes as Lowveld sugar producer Tongaat Hulett is developing the US$40 million Kilimanjaro cane project that is poised to be a game changer for the Lowveld and Masvingo in general.
Under the project, which was last month inaugurated by President Mnangagwa, Tongaat in partnership with local banks, among them CBZ, Cabs and ZB banks, is developing more than 3 000 hectares of virgin land into cane fields that will be handed over to Government for allocation to indigenous people.
President Mnangagwa has called for transparency in the allocation of the plots saying those wishing to benefit should do so through Minister Chadzamira.
Nearly 1 000 indigenous Zimbabweans have benefited from cane farming since the inception of the land reform programme at the turn of the millennium.