United Nations Development Program Country Director, Georges Van Montfort, has urged government of Zimbabwe to take a leading role in supporting young people in the agriculture sector through availing a conducive policy environment that enhances growth and employment creation.
Addressing the 5th Zimbabwe Agripreneurship Summit in Harare recently, Van Montfort called on policy makers to have support structures that help young farmers who face a number of challenges, chief among them financial.
“These challenges are not insurmountable. They can begin to be addressed by a conducive policy environment, and this is where the role of Government becomes important.
“Value chain development for instance, would provide the backward and forward linkages which allow people to graduate from subsistence farming towards more sustainable income. This needs to be complemented by access to finance, knowledge and resources,” said Van Montfort.
He said youths need to take advantage of the digital era where there is a room to strengthen entrepreneurial skills and technical capacities in order to exploit the opportunity presented by youth in agriculture.
“You need to play your part in harnessing the power of technology for your enterprises. With the development of ICT has come easy access to information as well as new and improved means of production which is key in an increasingly competitive market.
“The digital age in which we live has introduced many tools and apps, which have become a key input for business. The almost natural and quick adoptions of such tools by the youth present immense opportunities for efficiency gains and cost savings,” he said.
Zimbabwe Farmers Union retired major Abdul Nyathi said his organisation is eager to see self-driven young farmers steered to transform the farming industry towards a smart, sustainable and inclusive future, leveraging on mutually beneficial relationships with key value chain captains.
“Young farmers need market linkages, leadership coaching and to harness the yawning technological space. This summit provides an opportunity for youths in that direction,” he noted.
UNDP and Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) have partnered to make profitable and sustainable youth entrepreneurship a reality.
The partnership seeks to support livelihoods capacities using training, financial inclusion, market access interventions, and locally available endowments.