The agrarian reform has opened space for all citizens and the youths have also benefited and some of them have taken it seriously.
One such beneficiary who has appreciated the business aspect of agriculture is Midlands based John Muchenje who is an accountant by profession.
The thirty-four year old farmer is taking farming to another level as he is looking forward to improved tonnage of the maize, soya beans and tobacco crops at his Mahamara Farm.
Sitting on a vast space of 120-hectare, the farm is located about 70km from Kwekwe and 50km from Mvuma is in the midst of chrome claims. Muchenje is also the National Chairperson of Agro-poles and Mahamara Farm is one of his successful ventures.
The success of the agrarian reform which was started in 2000 and has now been supported by Command Agriculture which has seen the Government availing farming inputs for wheat, soya beans, tobacco and maize has seen young farmers like Muchenje offering employment and contributing to the economy at large.
The green from the tobacco, the maize and soya beans at Mahamara Farm is in total contrast to the surrounding farms, plots and claims where owners and companies like Zimasco and ZimAlloys are busy extracting chrome ore as witnessed by mountains and heaps of ore and soil along the road.
Muchenje said he realised his dream of becoming a successful farmer through continuous direct interaction with the President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
“Our President is a serious farmer. He is my role model; I believe in his leadership qualities and am prepared to support his vision fully.
“Farming is a serious business that one must have passion in it to be a successful. It is a business model which needs a lot of planning, involvement and monitoring for one to succeed. Cashflow projections and budgets must be done in order to control expenses so that one maximize on return on every dollar invested, he explained with a passion.
“I have maize on twenty hectares and expecting an average of 10 tonnes per hectare. Soya beans is on twenty hectares and expecting an average of three tonnes per hectare. As you can see I am also preparing land for sugar beans ,10 hectares and I am pushing to make sure they have germinated by end of February 2019. If all goes well ,I am expecting on average three tonnes per hectare. Tobacco is on 10 hectares and expecting 2-3 tonnes since it is a dry season crop,” he added.
He urged youths to take up farming and not live in a ‘cocoon’ and not having faith in programmes like Command Agriculture.
“Most youths think farming especially command agriculture is not open to youths. I am a youth and a proud beneficiary of the program. This is our country and government does not segregate or select beneficiaries. It’s for us all and our President is very clear on openness, unity and inclusiveness. I advise all youths to participate in this government program regardless of your political affiliation to ensure food security and sustainability rather than always be on social media spreading lies about state of the nation and being used by agents of regime change,” said Muchenje.
“It is the duty of youths to ensure food security and develop our country.
“ The election mode has lapsed and we now focused on economics. Our President HE Mnangagwa spearheaded Command Agriculture and it need serious takers mostly youths who believe and are prepared to work with the President in making sure Zimbabwe attains middle income economy status by 2030 through farming, “ he emphasized.
He however lamented over lack of adequate farming equipment.
“As youths and learning farmers we are facing challenges such as the need for combine harvesters, planters and more tractors.
“Like myself, I don’t have a combine harvester among other essential farming equipment needed. So when it is harvesting time I have to hire or be told to wait until for some time. So I call upon the Government to avail affordable farming equipment to young farmers,” he said.
Meanwhile, maize production in 2018 was 1, 2 million tonnes but decreased slightly by 46% as a result of climate change though in 2017 it recorded its highest level in two decades as a result of successful Command Agriculture programme.