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Govt to launch AMFOF in Sipambi, Masvingo

Story by Justin Mahlahla

The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, through the Agriculture Youth Desk and other government departments, will next week launch the AgricultureMyFutureOurFuture (AMFOF) at Sipambi Business Centre in Masvingo

The programme is meant to promote youth empowerment through agriculture.

A magazine featuring youths in agriculture, titled ‘EmpowerED Farmer’, is also expected to be launched on the same day.

Around 1000 actors in the agriculture value chains are expected to take part at the launch, where other major activities expected include the handover of A2 Permits to the youth in Masvingo province, awards for outstanding young farmers in the province, an Exhibition and Farmer Food Festival, training in the theories and practices of agriculture, national orientation and history of Zimbabwe by the National Youth Service, which falls under the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, as well as the launch of Action4Sustainble Development organization which is spearheading youth participation in the COP 28 preparations.

The launch of AMFOF is in response to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s pledge to young farmers through skills capacitation, which has been accelerated by the establishment of youth hubs across the country.

In January 2022, the President launched Provincial Integrated Youths Skills Development Centres (PIYSDC) for the country’s 10 provinces, where over 5 000 youths would be recruited at each centre annually before being equipped with agriculture skills.

Speaking during the launch of incubation centres at DCK Farm in Kwekwe, President Mnangagwa described agriculture as one of the major pillars of the country’s economy, hence the Government’s thrust to empower youths who make up 62% of the total population.

At the launch, President Mnangagwa handed over close to 700 heifers which were shared among youths across all the provinces under the Presidential Heifer Pass-on Scheme.

Under the Provincial Integrated Youths Skills Development Centres, the President directed every provincial minister to identify a 500-hectare piece of land dedicated to youth projects.

To date, 5 000 youths have passed through the skills development centres in 2022. Some of these have received portions of land where they are carrying out various agricultural activities.

The launch of AMFOF is, therefore, in response, according to the Programmes Coordinator in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Nickros Kajengo, who said everything is in place for the launch

“The youths are ready for the launch of the AMFOF programme. All stakeholders have been advised, and the Guest of Honour has been advised of the programme. This is a milestone in our efforts as the Agriculture Youth Desk to empower youths who are into farming. We are grateful for all the support we are receiving from the President, the First Lady, and the rest of the government,” he said.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Dr John Basera, chronicled the gains made under the Agriculture Youth Desk since 2022.

“The Agriculture Youth Desk organised the Provincial Integrated Skills Development Hubs, launched by President Mnangagwa on the 07th of January 2022; also a media space for youth in agriculture was created through the Agribusiness programme run by Wadzanai Manyore, where youths’ success stories are shared via the state broadcaster,” he said.

“Other achievements include the Green Jobs for Rural Youth Employment launched and funded by Food and Agriculture Organisation, with 200 youths benefitting from the scheme.

“Provinces that participated are Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Manicaland and Midlands,” added Dr Basera.

“100 youths were also trained under the Capacity Building Programme which was co-run by the ministry with the support of the ZANU-PF Department of Production and Labour at Nyamaropa Primary Madziwa, Mashonaland Central Province, as well as various capacity building programmes for youth in agriculture line up and 5 000 youths were trained from June to December 2022.”

The Agriculture Youth Desk has made strides in harnessing the youth dividend towards meaningful livelihoods, away from the menace of drug and substance abuse.

On 4 July 2023, Cabinet approved the full operationalisation of youth desks in government ministries, and to date, the Agricultural Youth Desk is ranked as the best Youth Desk in government which has managed to get regional and International recognition.

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