Agriculture the backbone of our economy-Min Masuka

Agriculture Reporter

The country’s economic recovery is hinged on the performance of the agricultural sector and there is need to enhance the current agricultural education system to respond to the requirements of the resettled farmers to increase production on farms.

This was said yesterday by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement at the launch of the Agricultural Education for Development 5.0 curriculum for colleges and Government that seeks to transform the agricultural sector in the country.

The new agriculture curriculum focuses on training, business advisory, and research and expected to respond to the needs of the economy as it equips students with skills and knowledge.

“It is in this context that the transformation of Zimbabwe’s agricultural college education system is long overdue. Vision 2030 of an empowered and prosperous upper middle income society eloquently enunciated by the President, His Excellency Dr E.D Mnangagwa, requires a new education paradigm as agriculture is the core of rural development and rural transformation,” said the Minister.

Minister Masuka added that Government was seized with the in-service training of agricultural extensionists so that they could be sufficiently, physically and mentally motorized for the urgent transformation of the agricultural sector.

Speaking at the same occasion, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr John Basera, said quality education was critical for the transformation of societies.

“The NDS1 and the National Agriculture Recovery Policy Framework (2018-2030) buttressed by the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy, acknowledges the need for skilled manpower with practical agriculture knowledge and resonate with the current demands to the agriculture sector,” said Dr Basera.

Dr Basera added that the current agriculture curriculum was not putting much emphasis on the whole value chain as it only trained extension workers on commercial crops only. He further said due to the new curriculum, colleges will now be producing graduates with skills and knowledge to start their own enterprises.

The curriculum was jointly spearheaded and supported by the European Union funded projects, Transforming Zimbabwe’s Animal Health, Food Safety Systems for the Future (SAFE) and Zimbabwe Agriculture Knowledge and Innovation Systems.