By Lisa Masuku
THE government in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is investing in young people to boost the country’s agriculture sector through funding sustainable entrepreneurship ideas.
Nine young entrepreneurs aged between 18 and 35 have received funding for their agriculture projects, after impressing funders during the resilient food systems pitch competition in Bulawayo this Thursday.
During the competition, which was graced by over 30 participants, the youths had to justify why their ideas are worth funding with a focus on their ability to transform livelihoods in various communities.
“My project is on fish farming. Fisheries are an important part of global food systems so this project will help provide people with healthy protein,” one of the winners told ZBC News.
Another added, “There is high demand for chicken so my project is an innovative way for promoting food security. To provide people with increased amounts of healthy foods i came up with this project.”
The government says the innovative manner in which young people are taking advantage of the local value chains to build resilient food systems will not only promote food security but will also play a role in reducing the import bill
“At the government level we are trying to reduce the import bill but at the level of young people, their main concern is on enhancing their livelihood. The solution to solving our import bill lies in supporting such initiatives,” said Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation, Dr Thokozile Chitepo
UNDP Deputy Resident Representative – Programmes, Ms Madelena Monoja appreciated the role of young people in employment creation, which translates to national economic development.
“It is good that we are seeing young people taking advantage of local resources to be self-sufficient,” she said.
Young people below the age of 35 constitute 70 per cent of the population hence their involvement in development projects is critical for national development.