By Staff Reporter
The ministry of lands, agriculture, fisheries, water, climate and rural resettlement has directed that 20 percent of land allocated must go to youths between the ages of 21-35 years.
Experts contend that agriculture offers the best opportunity for youths to become economically empowered not only in Zimbabwe but on the continent.
Responding to a question in the House of Assembly minister of lands, agriculture, fisheries, water, climate and rural resettlement Anxious Masuka said youths must now approach and apply for land in their preferred districts.
“In the latest communication of 16th March, 2021, we included a policy directive on ensuring that at least 20% of the land that is given out is given to youths between 21 years and 35 years.
Youths and the Hon. Members are encouraged to visit the District Lands offices where land is in the districts. The District Lands offices and the District Lands Committees will then recommend deserving applicants to the Provincial Lands Committee who then sit and also forward those to the Ministry through the lands directorate.
That is the policy position regarding youths and I look forward to some stage where we will be able to get feedback from MPs as to what extent they have gone to encourage their constituents to apply for this land,” said Masuka.
However, while the intention is noble mere provision of land to youths is not enough but Government must also provide information on access to markets while factors of production that include financing remain extremely limited hindering adequate engagement of youth in agriculture.
Once these issues are resolved agriculture will play a significant role in ensuring Zimbabwe harnesses its demographic dividend ensuring youths exploit opportunities in the sector and its value chains.
Demographic dividend refers to the temporary economic benefit that can arise from a significant increase in the ratio of working age adults relative to young dependents that result from fertility decline- if this change is accompanied by sustained investments in education and skills development, health, job creation and good governance.
“The Government has various programmes, depending on the scale of farming starting with even small holder level through the Presidential Climate Proved scheme, “pfumvudza, intwasa” where we avail inputs for serial production. We also have a similar scheme for cotton for the Presidential Cotton Inputs scheme for cotton production. For those that are on bigger pieces of land, A1 and A2, small scale Matenganyika and old resettlement, they can access Government support through the CBZ guaranteed command agriculture scheme and that has been largely successful.
Those are the avenues that are currently available but last week Government unveiled a far reaching resource envelope in terms of re-moulding, rebuilding and re-configuring the agricultural finance cooperation to have a land bank dedicated to the various classes of farmers and perhaps commercial and a leasing company to be able to provide tillage services to farmers, youths and also to be able to provide insurance services”.