Vice President of Africa Grain and Seed (AGS) Mrs Zandile Matiwaza – Denga has called on government and all schools in the country to educate children and young people to see agriculture with the same high value as other professions to encourage them to take it up as a career path.
Matiwaza – Denga whose organization is currently conducting a nationwide program of enhancing agricultural productivity by supporting vulnerable farmers with inputs and training said she noticed that a lot of young people in the country perceive agriculture in a bad light which is discouraging them to pursue it as a career despite its profitability. .
“Agriculture is a billion dollar industry because every person consumes products from it. People eat everyday so agricultural products are always on demand. Sadly, young people these days don’t see it as an important career to pursue. They perceive it as a dirty career for old and backward people. I urge the government and schools across the country to give Agriculture the same high value that they give to other professions.
“A lot of children and young people find it difficult to believe that I am into farming and agriculture when I interact with them due to their assumptions that farmers should be old and dirty. They grow up knowing that Doctors or Lawyers are the ones who are supposed to be smart that it why they always desire to pursue those careers.
“So if government and all the schools manage to give value to farming, we will see an influx of young people in the sector,” she said.
Matiwaza – Denga said AGS is launching a program to support youths and women in rural communities with cowpea seeds to give them a head start in agriculture. She highlighted that her organization will assist the groups to identify markets for them to sell their yields.
“This month we are starting a program in partnership with KamPay, a United Kingdom based company to give youths and women cowpea seeds to give them a head start in farming. We will support these groups through training and also identifying markets for them to sell their produce. So basically we will assist them with inputs and buy their yields. This group was affected the most by the prolonged Covid-19 lockdowns so we hope the program will enable them to sustain their livelihoods. We have also secured trees through our partnership with Grow a Tree foundation that we will also give to young people in communities, ”said Denga.
Grow a Tree Foundation Chief Executive Officer Kudakwashe Manyanga said they will be giving a minimum of five hundred fruit trees at selected rural schools under the green schools project aimed at mitigating climate change which is one of the biggest threats faced by communities.
“We will be running a green school project where we will be giving a minimum of five hundred fruit trees at particular rural schools across the country . We are looking at expanding the program to provide one hundred thousand trees in the next 18 months, and five million trees in the next years. We will be giving citrus trees, Avocado and Moringa trees,” said Manyanga.