Zimbabwe: President Launches Youth Agric Empowerment Scheme

8 January 2022

President Mnangagwa yesterday launched Provincial Integrated Youths Skills Development Centres (PIYSDC) for the county's 10 provinces where over 5 000 youths will be recruited at each centre annually before being equipped with agriculture skills.

Speaking during the launch of incubation centres at DCK Farm in Kwekwe yesterday, the President described agriculture as one of the major pillars of the country' economy, hence the Government's thrust to empower youths who constitute 62 percent of the total population.

The launch of the incubation centres saw the President distributing nearly 700 heifers which will be shared among youths across all the provinces under the Presidential Heifer Pass-on Scheme as Government moves to empower the younger generation.

Under the Provincial Integrated Youths Skills Development Centres, the President directed each provincial minister to identify a 500-hectare piece of land which would be dedicated to youth projects as part of the Government's policy to ensure youths participate in national programmes.

"Today's launch of the Provincial Integrated Youths Skills Development Centres will also see the handover of 698 heifers to young people drawn from all rural districts of the country.

"This is in line with my Government's policy to mainstream participation of the youths in national programmes, across all sectors, as well as in politics and governance architecture," said the President.

President Mnangagwa said youths should take keen interest in agriculture, taking advantage of the new Government's policy of a 20 percent youths quota under the Land Reform Programme.

He said youths were the future leaders who should be equipped with resources to achieve a productive agricultural economy

Youths would undergo training at the PIYSDCs which would also act as incubation centres to receive inputs from Government to boost production.

"Youths, who will go through these incubation centres, will receive inputs from Government to kick-start their projects, to boost productivity. The centres will be supported by the various Presidential inputs support schemes including the Heifer Pass-on Support Scheme which saw today over 600 heifers being distributed across the country."

The President said provinces should start identifying pieces of land to establish agricultural incubation centres for the youths with a view of targeting 500 youths every year.

He said the Ministry of Finance would put a provision in the budget to empower youths in agriculture.

"Each province must have 500 youths empowered per year so my Minister of Finance, Professor Mthuli Ncube, will now put a provision in the budget directed to empowering this programme," he said.

Provincial Ministers, said President Mnangagwa, should work closely with the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) to make sure the programme succeded.

He said land was the greatest resource the country could use to overcome the effects of the illegal sanctions imposed on the country.

"We have to overcome the sanctions imposed on our country and, how do we do that? We mobilise our own resources to develop our own country.

"We identified that agriculture is principal, mining is principal. We have our own land, our people and the natural rains from our Creator so we can utilise our land, be productive and our detractors can stay with their sanctions," he said

The President said the Second Republic had managed to overcome the effects of the sanctions even in the face of the global Covid-19 pandemic where other nations had been getting funding from multilateral institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

"These successes have been hinged on agriculture. We identified that agriculture is principal, mining is principal manufacturing and infrastructure development are critical to the development of a country.

"We used to put tenders and look for foreigners to develop our roads but we are now doing it on our own. The same with the construction of dams. We used to hire foreign experts but we are now doing it alone.

"This development is there for everyone to see and only those who are anti-development can criticise the works on the ground," he said.

The President said the Second Republic was determined to turnaround the country's agricultural sector which had also recorded notable successes in recent years with the country becoming food secure.

"Under the Second Republic, we are determined to re-orient those in the agriculture sector to perceive and undertake farming as a business.

"On its part, my Government will provide the necessary infrastructure, machinery, tools and equipment to train the youths on various aspects of the agriculture value chains," he said.

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