By Margaret Kamba
In its Africa Day message the Apex Council for Youth in Agriculture Zimbabwe through its Chairperson John Muchenje spoke about the importance of the land in reversing the gains of colonialism which for many centuries deprived the people of Zimbabwe. Africa Day is celebrated on 25 May every year.
Through their hashtag #fixing the country, the Apex Council also gave solutions for ensuring the eradication of poverty through land utilisation.
“Africa day is intended to celebrate and acknowledge the existence of the African Union from its creation on May 25, 1963 in the fight against colonialism and apartheid, as well as the progress that Africa has made, while reflecting upon common challenges that the African continent faces. However, land allocation and equitable distribution of resources is still a common challenge in most countries,” said Muchenje.
“Zimbabwe has had more than 40 years of independence and still agricultural production and productivity is low. Climate change, famine, economic crisis, disease outbreaks and donor dependency have resulted in the slowed growth rate of African economies.
“With vast amounts of arable land Zimbabwean farming is the make-or-break challenge for global humanity over the next decades. More than half of all additional food which is required until 2050, is required in Africa and Zimbabwe plays a critical role. For Zimbabwe to become self-sufficient and to begin recording a surplus, there is need to restructure the economy and its land holding.”
Muchenje identified some of the challenges facing youth people, women and the disadvantaged in society.
“Land holding has been interlinked with various factors that include, political land scape, food security, and cultural perceptions. The above-mentioned issues have made it difficult for youth, women, and the disadvantaged to gain proper access to landholding without being in the shadow of their parents or preferably their guardian,” Muchenje said.
“This has led to most youths disconnecting themselves from agriculture and its associated value chain as most of the youthful people prefer to gain employment where they are trapped in a cycle of poverty with generally low inequitable incomes which do not allow for self-development and economic growth.
Muchenje said there is need to harness the talent in the women, youth and disadvantaged in order to move the country forward.
“Going forward Agricultural Youth Apex Council has come up with suggestive measures that need to be undertaken to address the issues hindering competitive agricultural production,” the Apex Council Chairperson said.
“It is important to consider the youth, women and disadvantaged in the redistribution of land which is supported by security of tenure which gives them a bundle of rights which are transferable and bankable in order to boost confidence for sustainable investment in agriculture.
“In conclusion Zimbabwean agricultural landscape and land holding needs to change to avoid the risk of mass poverty, mass migration, income inequality, failed states, terrorism, and human misery due to poor health. There shall be no solutions to any of the above problems without addressing the story of land reform to the youthful population.”