Story by Political Editor Bruce Chahwanda
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has implored the Regional Universities FORUM to capacitate students with the requisite skills to ensure the continent feeds itself through research and development in the Agricultural sector.
The Regional Universities FORUM is a pan-African institution with more than 150 members based on the common goal, to build capacity in Agriculture.
Officially opening the forum’s annual general meeting in Harare this Wednesday, President Emmerson Mnangagwa urged stakeholders to come up with homegrown solutions to ensure food security on the continent.
“This 2022 edition must mark the turning point towards an African solution capable of feeding itself, drawing from a dynamic higher education sector which is relevant to the needs of humanity,” he said.
President Mnangagwa called for a paradigm shift towards equipping graduates to drive the continent’s agricultural transformation agenda.
“Forums such as this one must serve to refocus partners and stakeholders to decisively deal with challenges faced by African Universities in training and equipping graduates to drive the continent’s agricultural transformation agenda.
“To this end, it is important that as delegates here gathered, you recommit to ensuring that research, science and innovation are taken from the citadel of laboratories and lecture rooms, to impact the daily lives of ordinary people. Scientific research must be harnessed and used as a tool for the transformation of lives, livelihoods, incomes and ultimately our African economies,” he said.
He added that the inclusive and sustainable economic growth of Africa is hinged on increased agriculture production and food systems.
“A larger percentage of our population on the continent resides in rural areas and earns a living through agricultural activities. Increasing production and productivity levels in the sector, therefore, remains critical for a higher quality of life and improved incomes among grassroots communities. It is further imperative that we leverage our abundant arable land, dams and rivers to increase agriculture output,” said the President.
The forum’s main objective is strengthening agriculture food systems and the critical role of the agricultural sector in the industrialisation of Africa.