by Innocent Mujeri
The Chief Programs Coordinator Youth Desk in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Mr Nickros Kajengo has said youths in the Matabeleland region have embraced smart agriculture.
Smart agriculture is a cocktail of new ways that help to guide actions required to modify and reorient agricultural systems to effectively support the development and guarantee food security in the face of changing climate.
Kajengo said the model is best suited for smallholder farmers and it enhances production.
Kajengo was speaking with this publication while giving an update of the young farmers profiling exercise which was conducted in Matabeleland region on Monday.
He further said the profiling exercise was led by representatives of the Christian Community organization and stakeholders such as Seedco, National Tested Seeds, and officials from the Ministry of Health and Child Care because of the COVID-19 pandemic
“The profiling exercise we did on Monday in Matabeleland region was a huge success. We have realized that youths in that region have embraced smart agriculture which best suits smallholder farmers in that region. The smart agriculture model in Matebeleland is likely to increase food security in the region bearing in mind the effects of climate change,” said Kajengo.
Kajengo said they were impressed by one young farmer Weston Ncube of Bulawayo who had planted 13 000 heads of cabbages, 2 500 plants of tomatoes, 1 000 beetroots and 1 500 green pepper plants on a small piece of land.
Ncube was not alone on maximizing production on a small piece of land.
According to Kajengo, another young farmer Mjayeli Sibanda of Umguza was also doing wonders on a small plot.
Sibanda is rearing a 160 herd of cattle and has a thriving orchard of mangoes and oranges among other fruits.
In separate interviews with this publication, both Ncube and Sibanda thanked the Government for supporting young farmers and vowed to play their part in ensuring food security and employment creation in the country.
“I encourage my fellow youths to engage into farming activities and create employment for themselves as it is the only way they can positively change their lives. I also want to thank the Government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa for empowering youths through agriculture,” said Sibanda.
Another young farmer in Matabeleland South Province, Zekuleko Moyo said the smart farming introduced by Government was a good initiative as the concept helps farmers to make the most out of their land and cattle, producing core products, using less labour and resources.
Moyo further said as young farmers in Matabeleland region, they had embraced the smart agriculture concept because it provides insights and detailed data, which helps farmers to figure out the most suitable conditions for crops and animals to grow.