By Wellington Makonese
Government efforts to enhance the agricultural extension delivery system have received a major boost after the launch of a portal that will assist farmers and extension workers with critical information related to their trade.
The Inter-Census Demographic Survey conducted by ZIMSTAT in 2018 revealed that the country had reached 93.1% mobile penetration confirming the shift to digital platforms.
It is in this context that the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement has established three digital platforms for extension service providers to share information in what has been termed the Zimbabwe agriculture growth programme.
“As the country moves towards becoming an upper middle-income society by 2030, we need to adopt a completely new approach and exploit the potential of ICTs by developing appropriate and cost-effective applications that can improve the country’s productivity and competitiveness.
“Various ICT applications and solutions can improve industrial process and quality of products increase agricultural yields, enhance teaching and learning whilst positively transforming lives including those of farmers,” said the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement, Dr John Basera.
Curators of the portal revealed plans to ensure the country’s agriculture archives are universally accessible.
“Zimbabwe has a rich history of agriculture research and documentation, most of it is in hardy copies and in libraries. So, what we have done is to put in place a team digitalise the archives so that the staff will accessible on the internet and in printable form,” Mr Waddilove Sansole, Service Leader of Zimbabwe Agriculture Knowledge and Innovation.
The thee digital solutions which include the online lead farmer training, in service training app and the Zim Agrihub, have been cited as key in the fulfilment of the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy.