Technical Cooperation Project to boost agriculture production
GOVERNMENT has hailed the launch of the Technical Cooperation Project (TCP/Zim), “Strengthening Agriculture Extension Services in Zimbabwe” by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), describing the project as a platform that will lead to increased productivity sustainability, while addressing climate change and environmental degradation in agriculture, and boost food security.
Addressing participants during the project launch, Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural resettlement permanent secretary Dr John Basera said the project bodes with the government’s vision of revolutionizing the extension delivery services, as authorities are very much aware of the key role played by the department.
“This project strongly supports our vision of revolutionizing extension delivery services to be responsive to farmers needs in the face of the ever-changing demands and climate and enhance our agriculture production systems.
“The agriculture recovery plan recognizes the integral part played by extension agents in driving rural development. One of the key strategic interventions in the Agricultural Recovery Plan focuses mainly on the overall capacitation of the Extension Services Delivery System.
“The government of Zimbabwe is very much aware of the critical and pivotal role agricultural extension and advisory services play in imparting practical knowledge and skills to farmers and are one of the key drivers of agricultural growth in the various plans and strategies,” said Dr Basera.
He added that through the intervention methods brought by the project, extension workers would be well equipped to carry out their mandate, through the use of digital technologies.
“The extension capacitation drive entails increasing the mobility of extension staff through provision of motorcycles and fuel, increased interventions towards appropriate and relevant training opportunities as well as equipping extension officers with digital technologies for effective technical backstopping of farmers to adopt Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs).
The Government of Zimbabwe has already made inroads in capacitating extension services in the agricultural sector, with a pledge of over 5 000 motorbikes. To date, over 3 200 motorbikes have been delivered and distributed to Veterinary and Agritex extension officers in all provinces. By end of August 2021, government expects delivery and distribution of all the 5 000 motorbikes to all extension officers to be completed.
In light of the need to cooperate and collaborate for the achievement of SDGs, Government through the Ministry entered into partnerships with development partners to address some of the challenges imposed on us by climate change. The partnerships led to the rolling out of Small Irrigation Revitalisation Programme (SIRP), UNDP Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund, Green Climate Fund Project titled “Building Climate Resilience to Agriculture Livelihoods in Southern Zimbabwe”, Zimbabwe Agriculture Growth Programme among many.