By Albert Makendenge
Half of the country’s 15 million people are the young and the energetic below the age of 35. 17 percent of the country’s gross domestic product comes from agricultural production, a venture that most of that young and adventurous part of the population finds hard and boring. A time will definitely come when the old and more experienced agriculturists bow out, leaving the youth to carry on with the business of farming. In other words the future of agriculture lies firmly in the hands of the young people of Zimbabwe.
It therefore goes without saying that there is need for an increase in the number of youth in agriculture who should play an important role in shaping and influencing the direction of Zimbabwe’s future food security. Mainstreaming youth participation in agriculture can help change youth perceptions on agriculture, helping them view it as an exciting and innovative industry. There are currently so many success stories of young people reaping off amazing financial and employment benefits from participating in livestock and crop production amongst many other agricultural endeavors and this should serve as motivation and encouragement enough for their peers. A smooth handover takeover process that encourages the passing on of knowledge and skills about agriculture is best. In our vaMudhumeni WhatsApp groups and discussion forum on our website https://www.vamudhumeni.org/forums/forum/discussion we have farmers of all ages, interacting and sharing farming ideas and advice. In incorporating farming experts into this platform we have put in place support systems and structures to help each and every young and upcoming farmer whenever possible.
If the country is to have any chance of regaining its long gone but not forgotten bread basket status going forward into the future, it is up to the young generation to take it upon themselves to bring the necessary energy and desire to see this dream come alive again. It is in the vast expanse of our richly endowed soil where the greener pastures truly lie (more in the rural areas than in urban areas).