Most youths in Zimbabwe have no jobs or viable livelihoods. Whilst agriculture has the potential to offer livelihoods for the youths, its current underperformance due to climate change and infertile soils has caused several youths to lose interest in it. Having that situation in hand, it is very sensational to see some young and energetic men looking for solutions to restore the capacity of agriculture to provide a source of livelihood for the youths in Zimbabwe again.
Bradwell Mazhonga and Kerbouchard Zvovushe are two young men aged 23 and 26, respectively. The two are currently studying for a diploma in agroecology certificate with Fambidzanai Permaculture Centre and Bindura University of Science Education. They have decided to dedicate their spare time to volunteering at our agroecology demonstration centre in Mt Hampden, Harare.
The two have been motivated by the desire to learn agroecology through hands-on experience. Through active participation, Bradwell and Kerbouchard are saying their stay at the centre has given them ample time to thoroughly apply what they learn in class.
“I desirelearn more about agroecology. Therefore, I saw that it was best for me to come here (FPC) and learn whilst I practice. As a student, I saw that it’s important for me to expose myself to an environment where this practice is being demonstrated so that I have a better understanding of the concept. Having that knowledge would future help me to conduct meaningful agroecology workshops with farmers and other stakeholders” said Kerbouchard.
Zimbabwe is experiencing more frequent and severe droughts, floods, poor soils, high cost of agricultural inputs, pests and diseases that affect crop and livestock production.
These challenges usually frustrate the youths and cause them to refrain from agriculture. While agroecology can be the best alternative way that young farmers can adopt to cope with the effects of climate change and the high cost of production; there remains a huge yawning knowledge gap that needs to be filled because the concept is still relatively new here in Zimbabwe.
They said they were determined to share their experiences to contribute to raising awareness of agroecology, especially among their fellow youths. Bradwell added that;
“With the practical experience that I’m gaining, I have seen that, as an (agriculture) extension agent, it is very important to preach what I practice. My active participation strengthens my capacity to convince my colleagues through meaningful discussions drawn from practical experiences”.
As part of their learning, Bradwell and Kerbouchard have learnt about soil fertility management techniques, agroforestry, animal integration, and water conservation, just to mention a few.
The two young men are advising the other youths out there to start embracing sustainable agriculture and gradually refrain from practices that pollute the environment.