Why Agricultural education 5.0 is important for development

Grace Zvavamwe

In 2021, the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Dr Anxious Masuka launched the Agricultural Education for Development 5.0 (AED 5.0) curricula for agricultural colleges.

The new curriculum was in line with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Vision 2030 and was expected to respond to the needs of the economy and provide learners with skills, knowledge and competencies important for the labour market, personal development and active citizenship. The curriculum focuses on training, business advisory, research, innovation and entrepreneurship. It doesn’t need a rocket scientist to see that the Second Republic is keen to develop the country’s agricultural sector and make it one of the key pillars of economic development.

Since the coming in of the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa in 2017, his Government came in with a number of programs and policies, AED 5.0 being one of them, aimed at transforming the agricultural sector and lives of the general populace. The government’s recognition of the centrality of agriculture to economic development and economic empowerment led the government to engage its citizen’s mainly young people in agricultural activitie.But one might ask why agricultural education is important and to whose benefit is it?”

To start with, agricultural education is important as it would provide the learners and other people with skill, knowledge and competencies important for the labour market, personal development and active citizenship. Agricultural education also encompasses innovation and information communication technologies aimed at matching skills with industrial agriculture needs into the development agenda of transforming the economy meeting future market needs.

More so, agricultural education is important for the Zimbabwean economy as it aims at transforming pillars critical for development and serves to reduce poverty as it also works to create increased food security, promote sustainability in accordance with Sustainable Development Goal. Since the advent of Second Republic, the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, through its Youth Desk has been going across the country capacitating youths and community members with skills to venture into agriculture and contribute to food security in line with Vision 2030. President Mnangagwa and his administration should therefore be applauded for championed education 5.0 policy to ensure Zimbabwe develops its economy through knowledge based approaches in line with the mantra ‘Nyika Inovakwa nevene vayo’.In most of his speeches during graduation ceremonies at State universities, President Mnangagwa has been imploring students to embrace being more innovative and with matching skills in industrial agriculture so that they can positively  contribute more to economic growth.

Through education 5.0, graduates were equipped to be capable of transforming agricultural production, setting up agricultural enterprises and adapting to dynamic agricultural landscape and changing value chains through various teachings incorporated in this program. Agricultural education 5.0 also facilitated sound implementation of Government programmes by aiding the up scaling of Pfumvudza/Intwasa, Presidential goat programmes and the horticulture recovery. It can be seen that agricultural education 5.0 is developing a whole person with knowledge and skills. Through education 5.0, the skilled person will turn knowledge into tangible products creating employment and businesses that contribute to the country’s gross domestic product. Thus the on-going modernisation of the country’s agriculture through agriculture education is part of the government’s efforts of accelerating of vision 2030 through agriculture modernisation and also being on the global market.

With Zimbabwe farmers being introduced to the new technologies through education 5.0, they have the opportunity to embrace the use of technology and have media presence to showcase and market their produce. To further show its commitment to agricultural development, government made sure that agricultural education 5.0 spilled over to the rural areas with the government tasking agricultural colleges to spearhead programmes that promote rural industrialisation and uplift livelihoods of communities. Since the beginning of the year, over 5000 youths have received training at provincial integrated incubation hubs encouraging their participation in agricultural activities. Allocation of land to 7youths under the provincial youth integrated schemes have since been made a priority which is testament to government’s efforts to boosts youth participation.

With all what is happening within the agriculture sector, it can be seen that President Mnangagwa is indeed leading us into the right direction and very soon Zimbabwe will reclaim its status as the bread basket of Africa.