RESETTLED farmers have often been blamed for lacking the requisite expertise to ensure maximum production.
However, through determination and perseverance, they have soldiered on.
Government and private players have also chipped in, supporting farmers financially and with inputs and farm implements.
Agricultural colleges have been set up where farmers can receive training.
Graduates from agricultural colleges have come together to form a coalition that seeks to tap into their technical expertise and help develop Zimbabwe’s agriculture sector.
Aptly named the Coalition of Agricultural Graduates of Zimbabwe (CAGOZ), the group seeks to promote agriculture through recruiting agriculture graduates to participate in developing country’s agricultural system.
Coalition of Agricultural Graduates of Zimbabwe (CAGOZ) chairperson Dickson Kubvakacha said the country’s economy is agro-based hence agriculture should be top on the development agenda.
“A bold decision was made to go to war, a bold decision was made to carry out the historic Land Reform Programme and now, our Government should take another bold decision to make that land highly productive,” said Kubvakacha.
“We urge Government to embrace some of our recommendations that include that all A2 farms be run by qualified managers, preferably from CAGOZ to ensure that these farms are fully utilised.
“As CAGOZ, we are ready to take our agriculture to another level by filling the void left by the former white commercial farmers.
“Land can be leased to CAGOZ for the opening up of serious commercial production zones across the provinces.”
Kubvakacha also highlighted the need for youths to be considered when land is being distributed.
“Only a few of our members own farms, so, if there is any land available, we encourage the Government not to parcel it to individuals who will let it lie idle while they milk Government by abusing and tarnishing the image of good programmes such as Command Agriculture,” he said.
CAGOZ liaison officer Simon Mukweva said the organisation is independent and draws its membership from students graduating from agricultural colleges.
The association will soon be approaching Government requesting land on which to showcase their farming skills and create agro business in Zimbabwe.
“We are targeting students who graduated from colleges, be it universities or polytechnics, as long as they own a certificate or degree which shows they have a qualification in agriculture,” said Mukweva.
“We are planning to request President Emmerson Mnangagwa to help us with land so that we can showcase our farming abilities for the good of the country’s economy. To join the coalition, one has to pay an affiliation fee of US$10.
“Formation of the coalition was mooted in February this year by a small number of agricultural graduates who realised that in Zimbabwe, they are many, but are not participating actively in the farming sector.”
Mukweva said the association was formed in a bid to represent agricultural graduates who did not have land to showcase their farming abilities.
“It started in February 2018 and the first meeting was held on March 31, then it was registered in April,” he said.
“It now has 500 members at national level, but we hope the figure grows to 700.
“We have offices at the Harare Agricultural Show Grounds and will be setting up in Manicaland soon.”
Mukweva said they are now going to all provinces, mobilising agricultural graduates to join.
Mukweva said the association is determined to bring the latest technologies and techniques in agriculture.
“Agriculture is the backbone of our economy,” he said.
“At one point we were the breadbasket of Africa, producing and exporting agricultural products to different countries.
“We want to go back to that status.”
Mukweva said agricultural graduates had the knowledge and science of farming, hence they deserved to have their own land.
“Some of the graduates rent pieces of land which is expensive, but they have all the knowledge about farming,” he said.