The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement has launched the Agricultural Education for Development 5.0 curriculum for colleges as Government seeks to transform the agriculture sector.
Agriculture Minister Dr Anxious Masuka said the new curriculum is expected to respond to the needs of the economy and provide learners with skills, knowledge and competencies important for the labour market, personal development and active citizenship.
It focuses on training, business advisory, research, innovation and entrepreneurship
The curriculum was jointly spearheaded by the European Union-funded projects, Transforming Zimbabwe's Animal Health and Food Safety Systems for the Future (SAFE) and Zimbabwe Agriculture Knowledge and Innovation Systems (ZAKIS) in collaboration with the Ministry.
Under Zakis, Community Technology Development Organisation (CTDO) programme manager, Mr Patrick Kasasa led the development process.
Minister Masuka said the current rigid agricultural education system had not been responding to the requirements of farmers resettled under the land reform programme with production and productivity negatively affected.
"It is this context that the transformation of Zimbabwe's agricultural college education system is long overdue.
"Vision 2030 of an empowered and prosperous upper middle income society eloquently enunciated by the President His Excellency Dr ED Mnangagwa requires a new education paradigm as agriculture is the core of rural development and rural transformation to power the improvement of livelihoods.
Government is also seized with the in-service training of the exciting cadre of extensionists so that they too can be sufficiently, physically and mentally motorised for this exciting agricultural transformation" he said.
Permanet Secretary Dr John Basera said quality education was critical and only way to quickly transform sectors, resultantly communities and societies.
"The NDS1 and the National Agriculture recovery Policy Framework (2018-2030) buttressed by the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy acknowledges the need for skilled manpower with practical agriculture knowledge that resonate with the current demand to the agriculture sector," he said.
European Union representative Mr Martin Zhou said they welcomed the new curriculum because it contributed to the development of a diversified and efficient agriculture sector that promotes inclusive green economic growth.
"Its focus is on increasing profitability, building the capacity of farmers, service institutions, and the private sector through increased investment, institutional reforms, and policy alignment.
"The curriculum also responds to the national policy landscape relevant to agriculture including: Zimbabwe Vision 2030: which seeks to grow the country into a middle-income economy by 2030, National Development Strategy 1 (2021-2025): First 5-year Medium Term Plan aimed at realising Zimbabwe's Vision 2030 through strategies of import substitution through growing local value chains based on Zimbabwe's own comparative advantages," he said.
Community Technology Development Organisation (CTDO) Mr Andrew Mushita said the new curriculum was important as it emphasized on industrialisation of the agriculture.
"The current curriculum did not put much emphasis on the whole value chain but trained extension workers on commercial crops only.
"The whole industrialisation agenda was missing.
"Now colleges will be producing graduates who will not only be employees but entrepreneurs with skills to start their own enterprises," he said.