AGRICULTURE will play a significant role in ensuring Zimbabwe harnesses its demographic dividend by ensuring that youths exploit opportunities in the sector and its value chains.
Demographic dividend refers to the temporary to the temporary economic benefit that can arise from a significant increase in the ratio of working age adults relative to young dependents that results from fertility decline- if this change is accompanied by sustained investments in education and skills development, health, job creation and good governance.
Speaking on the sidelines of the launch of the report on Harnessing the demographic dividend in Zimbabwe supported by the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA), finance and economic development minister Professor Mthuli Ncube said the agriculture sector will be critical in providing employment to the youth and lifting them out of poverty.
“Agriculture is key to providing youth jobs and thousands of them can be absorbed into the sector, what we need to do is provide them with skills, tools and capital and that is very key. So agriculture alongside other sector shall be very critical in making the most of the youth dividend”.
Zimbabwe entered the demographic dividend period in 2004 and is expected to last until 2060 with the country reaching its peak in 2012.
The report also noted that a majority of the Zimbabwe labor force is engaged in the agricultural sector emphasis should be put to enhance its capacity to create attractive livelihood opportunities for the youth across the value chain.
In addition to attracting more investors in the sector, interventions could include developing infrastructure for irrigation, communication and transportation of commodities, developing agribusiness and integrating ICT use in agriculture.
Other interventions proposed are improving the ease of doing business in Zimbabwe to attract investors and promote growth of the private sector.
Incentives to companies that excel in creating jobs for youth, supporting set up and growth of micro and small enterprises and facilitate their graduation into medium and large size enterprises.