By Ndafadza Madanha
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has urged youths to embrace farming as the sector has potential to enhance their livelihoods and national food security.
Speaking at the inaugural National Young Champion Farmer Awards held in the capital today, President Mnangagwa said the awards ceremony was a reflection of the success and importance of the land reform exercise.
“While agriculture is the backbone of our economy, the youths are the future. It is therefore most opportune that you chose to hold this inaugural ceremony to reward these young farmers. The increased participation of young people in the agriculture sector is a joyous development which reinforces the irrefutable importance and success of our Land Reform Programme”.
The President said his administration was committed to accommodating youths in the agriculture value chain through government programmes such as Command Agriculture Programme and the Presidential Input Scheme.
“I, exhort, the ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement to work with various stakeholders to facilitate the entry of more young farmers into horticulture, animal husbandry, and the agro forestry sub sectors, as well as the value addition and beneficiation of all agriculture produce”.
Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa also used the awards ceremony to warn leaders who have multiple farms.
He said some leaders had acquired vast tracts of land but were not producing yet young farmers with less than 10 hectares had made significant strides in helping the nation attain food security.
The President also underscored that all agricultural land in the country belonged to the State and it was his prerogative as Head of State to allocate land.
“Let me once again reiterate that there should be no conflict between and among stakeholders involved in the agriculture value chain. All agriculture land is state land and no person or group of people must assume the authority as ‘the distributor of land,’ outside the laid down procedures of Government”.