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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Youth empowerment drive yields results in Chiredzi

Story by Gay Matambo

YOUTHS who were allocated sugarcane plots in Chiredzi under the government’s empowerment drive are making progress after venturing into commercial production.

Farming was generally regarded as a domain for people who had retired from professional careers, but perceptions are shifting with an increasing number of youths in Chiredzi district venturing into full-time sugarcane production.

35-year-old Roy Tsvaki from the Mleme area is one such young farmer boasting of a thriving 85-hectare sugarcane farm.

He is expecting a harvest of 5000 tonnes of sugarcane worth close to US$350 000 after utilising 60 hectares of land.

“I want to thank the Second Republic which is led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa for empowering us with land. I got this land in 2021. I sourced for funds in 2022 to develop 40 hectares. This year, I’m expecting yields of around 120 to 130 tonnes per hectare. I have also managed to employ 7 permanent employees. Before I got this land, I used to rent land and here I am now, the government has empowered me with my own land. I’m now in the transport industry as well through sugarcane farming.”

Another young farmer in Hippo Valley North, Taenzana Mpambiki, who owns a 30-hectare farm says the future is bright for youths in sugarcane production.

“I am one of the youths who was given land by the government and I’m very grateful. I was given a dry land farm in 2022 and started developing it. I developed 10 hectares then after harvesting in 2023, I managed to develop more land. Through this initiative, the government has also reduced the unemployment rate in this area. I employ 15 youths and I’m in the transport business where I have employed more youths as well. We urge banks to capacitate promising young farmers with start-up loans.”

Anchored on the concept that farming is a business, the young farmers are also creating employment for other youths in the area.

“I’m happy that I’m fully employed at this farm and I’m able to send my siblings and take care of my parents. Despite having a job here, I’m also acquiring various sugarcane farming skills which I didn’t have and I am also providing for my family and taking my children to school,” said a farm employee.

Under the Second Republic, youth empowerment programmes that include the Presidential Youth Heifer Scheme and Provincial Youth Incubation Hubs have featured more prominently to increase youth participation in the mainstream economy.

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