May 19, 2024

By Lungile Siziba

THERE is a young crop of Zimbabweans that has literally taken the bull by its horns and seized the development agenda driven by the Second Republic aimed at ensuring national food security.

While there is a significant number of youths who prefer to spend their time on social media claiming that there are no opportunities for young people to make a living, others are actually creating opportunities for themselves and their peers.

Mr Kuzalunga Ncube Mabuza of Matabeleland South Province, says he has embraced the President’s “Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo/ Ilizwe lakhiwa ngabanikazi balo” mantra, and has turned his Ward 17 community in arid Mangwe District into a horticulture hub.  

A recent tour of Mangwe District revealed the presence of young people who appreciate the Government’s policies and find them as enabling tools for a broader agenda of economic transformation. 

Mr Mabuza, who was previously employed as a gardener at a South African farm, says a thorough soul searching gave him the idea of turning Ward 17 into a greenbelt.

His compound boasts of an orchard and various crops that are at different sizes of growth.

“I was working in South Africa but I came back almost a year ago,” he said.

“When President Mnangagwa came to Jinjika to launch the project, I was there and I loved the project. I never believed that cabbages could be grown in this hot area but look at the field now, it’s full of cabbages.

“These are just two months old. I copied what I saw at the President’s launch and this is not the end. I do not want people to go hungry, which is why I want to expand the place to provide food for the community.”

Mr Mabuza said no matter where one is, they should consider taking up farming as a business.

“If you have the land, use it to feed the nation,” he said.

Further down in Bango, Ward 11, Mr Sobala Ncube of Simukwe Valley Projects, has also taken advantage of his proximity to Simukwe River to put in a green water pumping system to establish a greenbelt and provide clean water to the community.

“I am happy when I see the mushrooming of irrigation schemes around the community because I have influenced this development.

“To me, it’s about creating an industry. President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa through the National Development Strategy (NDS1) speaks about the promotion of rural industrialisation and this is what we are working towards,” said Mr Ncube.

“Makorokoro is an inspiration for us. Realising the natural resources that we have, I thought of exploiting them and creating rural revenue while creating jobs.”

With 22 employees, Mr Ncube is already thinking of expanding his four-hectare piece of land and growing more crops.

His wish is to have 100 hectares and play his party in ensuring no one goes hungry.

“I want us to produce tomato paste and soups and be able to dry out our vegetables. We want to move to the second phase of production for continuity of supply,” he said.

“One of the things I urge young people to do is to remain focused because our Government is trying its best. What people do not realise is that for business to grow there must be enabling policies, which we have.

“For us, we have the human capital, the land, water and an enabling Government policy. You will never realise what you can do until you have done it. So it’s doable.”

Minister of Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Matabeleland South Province, Evelyn Ndlovu, says the Makorokoro Nutrition Garden in Jinjika Village, launched by President Mnangagwa has been an inspiration.

“President Mnangagwa spoke passionately about the Makorokoro irrigation scheme during his address in New York. He said he was transforming the rural areas and encouraged people to come and see the scheme,” said Minister Ndlovu.

“It is this scheme that we are here to monitor. It is a rural empowerment project being done. It is a first and all villages will have similar projects.

“It is creating jobs and providing food and nutrition security and we are very grateful to President Mnangagwa for it.”

Minister Ndlovu said agriculture is the mainstay of the economy and “with it you can never go wrong”.

“As Resident Minister, I encourage other young people to identify land and we will give them the necessary support to defend the country through agriculture because even in a rural setting, you can do wonderful things.”

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