Agriculture Business Climate Community Development

Vehicles handover bridges mobility gaps in agriculture ministry

Matthias Spaeth (L) the Country Director of Welthungerhilfe, hands of vehicle registration books to ministry representative. Photo: Post on Sunday

A handover of vehicles to the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, and Rural Development by the European Union (EU) under the Zimbabwe Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Services (ZAKIS) project will bridge mobility gaps in the sector.

In his speech, read today by Chief Director for Irrigation for the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Eng Tinayeishe Mutazu on his behalf, Dr. John Basera, the Permanent Secretary, said ZAKIS has been pivotal to add new perspectives and stock of knowledge on various agricultural themes.

“I’m informed that the capacitation has gone a notch higher wherein today we are officially transferring the ownership of 8 vehicles and 18 motorcycles to the Ministry. This great partnership gesture will go a long way in strengthening the integration of agricultural research, education, and extension which the ZAKIS project has been promoting since its inception in 2018.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, it is heartening to note the following ZAKIS activities that are contributing to Government’s agriculture transformation strategy with respect to:

  • Building institutional capacity in research, education, and extension, with a commercial orientation, working with the private sector, retaining skills and establishing knowledge and capacity.
  • Developing a responsive pluralistic extension system informed by farmers, markets and research.
  • Developing prioritized research, technologies and global learning to inform education and extension.
  • Developing dynamic agricultural education curriculum informed by farmers, markets and research.

“The ZAKIS’ objective to transform Zimbabwe’s agricultural research, education and extension services for the future is centred on developing Agricultural Centres of Excellence (ACEs) which bring together research, education and extension. To date, ZAKIS has established two physical ACEs at the Chibero Agricultural College and Matopos Agricultural Research Institute. Each ACE is linked to two neighbouring District Agricultural Centres of Excellence (DACE) with Chibero linked to Mhondoro-Ngezi and Chegutu and Matopos Research Institute linked to Insiza and Matobo,” Dr Basera said.

He said the established centres of excellence stimulate and sustain agriculture transformation in Zimbabwe through the development of costed business plans which sought to demonstrate potential income streams for revenue in support of core institutional sustainability.

Further, the business plans of ACEs and DACEs will incorporate income-generating projects. Demonstration of technologies that are viable and their implementation in the linked districts will enable trained farmers to change their livelihoods for the better. Roping-in of the private sector, a deliberate priority by ZAGP-ZAKIS between the ACEs and private sector players would enable the former to generate better income and commercialization of particular products by ACEs.

Matthias Spaeth, Country Director of Welt Hunger Hilfe (WHH) in Zimbabwe, speaking on the same occasion, said the main objective of the ZAKIS project is to contribute to improved agricultural productivity by implementing an integrated research, education and extension framework that is farmer-centric.

ZAKIS commenced in 2018, as one of the projects within the EU- funded Zimbabwe Agricultural Growth Programme (ZAGP) being implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development.
The project is being implemented by four partners, namely the Community Technology Development Organisation (CTDO), the International Crop Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), the Sustainable Agriculture Technology (SAT) with WHH as the lead.
Various interventions have been made by the project in pursuit of the objective to integrate agricultural research, education, and extension for the benefit of the farmer.
These interventions include the establishment of agricultural centres of excellence; The launch of the Agriculture Education for Development 5.0 curriculum in 2021; the launch of various digital innovations in support of agriculture development, which include the Zim Agri Hub website, the Lead Farmer Training Application and the in-service Training application; the establishment of ward information centres, where farmers can access the internet and various training material in local languages, to improve their agricultural productivity.
“At the start of the ZAKIS project, areas requiring project support were identified through a needs assessment and future search exercise. One of the gaps identified was mobility and this is why in 2019 the project capacitated three Ministry departments of agricultural research, education, and extension with vehicles and motorcycles. Since then, the vehicles have been at the disposal of the Ministry, being used not only for project activities but also for other national assignments within the context of agriculture development.
“Today’s official handover marks the transfer of ownership of these ZAKIS project vehicles to the Ministry,” Mr Spaeth said.
WHH is an international non-governmental organisation, whose mandate is to eradicate hunger and poverty. The President of the German Federal Republic, His Excellency Mr. Steinmeier is the patron of the organization, which had its 60th-anniversary last year.
In Zimbabwe, Welthungerhilfe has since the country’s independence in 1980, been supporting development through various programmes and projects.
“Our focus is on food and nutrition security, as well as on increasing incomes for the poorest populations. Overall we aim to contribute to a transformation of the Food System that ensures the availability, accessibility, and affordability of healthy and nutritional food for all.
“Over the years, our interventions implemented with various partners have focused on sustainable agriculture, nutrition as well as water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). We have also been very strong in responding to emergency situations and building the capacity and resilience in Zimbabwean communities to ensure lasting change. Our involvement in the Cyclone Idai response, various piped water schemes around the country, urban resilience through urban agriculture, and our role in the Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund (RBF), the recently completed food systems study in Gokwe North and South, are a few examples of the scope of our work,” Mr. Spaeth added.

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende