By Kennias Chivuzhe
MANICALAND State University targets to open its Headlands campus in the next two years, with the institution embarking on massive agriculture projects to reduce pressure on tuition fees and augment government support.
The dream to grow Manicaland State University of Applied Sciences gained further traction when the newly established institution of higher learning was allocated a farm in Makoni District to build a campus that focuses on agriculture.
The University has wasted no time, planting 35 hectares of tobacco as part of income augmentation projects that will reduce pressure on tuition fees and speed up the pace to establish the Headlands Campus said Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Albert Chawanda.
“We have managed to grow thirty-five hectares of tobacco this season as party of projects aimed at augmenting government support to the academic institution. This will also help to reduce or maintain our tuition fees as we don’t want to take tuition fees to fund other operating activities. That is also being done to support the opening of our Headlandscampus. At the moment infrastructure is not enough.
We must start to have students at the campus by the year 2021. Manicaland State University benefited from the land reform programme as we managed to get a 1400-hectare farm,” he said.
University Farm manager Shelton Haukozi says the institution is expanding farming operations and will be training local farmers to grow quality tobacco.
“The farm has irrigation infrastructure to support one hundred and two hectares of tobacco if revived. This season we are going to hold a training programme on the production of tobacco seedlings in order for farmers to produce quality seedlings that will enhance productivity,” he said.
Local villagers expressed hope that the academic institution will transform the area and empower the community.
“The coming of Manicaland University is a blessing. We believe we will benefit a lot from the presence of the institution in our area, with technical expertise, provision of social services and employment being among the advantages,” they said.
Manicaland State University of Applied Sciences currently has an enrolment of seven hundred students and hopes to increase the number to two thousand within two years, with the opening of the Headlands Campus set to be a major contributor to the envisaged growth.
By Kennias Chivuzhe