In a move that promotes demographic inclusiveness, the government has introduced commercial cage fish farming for young people as part of the Presidential Fisheries Program in a bid to make fish farming attractive to the age group.
This will boost youth involvement in agriculture and contribute to the economic development of the country in line with government policy to mainstream youth participation in national programs. The move delivers on the government’s mantra of “leaving no one or no beat behind” as the country moves towards achieving Vision 2030.
Agriculture is one of the main pillars of the country’s economy, hence the government’s drive to empower the youth who constitute 62 percent of the total population of Zimbabwe.
In an interview with The Herald yesterday, Acting Director of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Milton Tinashe Makumbe, said the program aims to empower young people across the country.
“We have developed a particular concept note, specific to young people, in which, in a dam, for example, we plan to reserve almost a quarter of the water body for cage farming. They will set up cages of different sizes, then introduce sex-reversed fry to grow out before harvesting them between six and nine months old.
“Young people have the opportunity to venture into fish farming and use the different bodies of water in the country. There are more than 10,000 water bodies scattered across the country and young people can gather and use them for the project. The good thing is that when they use cage culture, the fish are confined in that cage and not easily accessible to the community,” he said.
Cage farming is more commercial when an individual does it for sale and to increase consumption.
Mr. Makumbe added: “We hope that the young participants will include sex-reversed fingerlings in the cages, which will be harvested later. In the long term, we plan to establish processing factories or processing enterprises in the respective provinces, especially in hot spots or centers where there is a lot of fish production. Our young people will harvest the fish from the dams and process it into fillets, among other products. »
Agriculture in Zimbabwe is booming and young people are actively involved in it. The introduction of provincial agricultural training hubs, which equip young farmers with knowledge and skills and provide them with starter kits is one of the government policies, which enable young people to fully participate in agriculture.
More than 3,000 young people have received training on agricultural innovation at provincial integrated youth development centers under a program set up by the government to strengthen their involvement in agricultural activities and contribute to economic development from the country.
The centers act as demonstration sites where young people from across the province come to learn new skills and new ways to improve agricultural productivity.
The Chief Livestock Specialist of the Ministry of Rural Development, Mrs. Rutendo Nyahoda, recently said that centers have been set up for the benefit of youths and the program is working successfully in all provinces as they empower youths with knowledge, skills and start-up inputs or assets for agricultural projects.
The President of the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU), Dr Shadreck Makombe, said that young farmers are benefiting extensively from farming in different ways.
“Young or young farmers have benefited and continue to benefit from the land they work on. They also benefit from agricultural empowerment projects and many other policies, which include partnerships, joint ventures, value addition and many more.
Last year, the president asked each provincial minister to identify 500 hectares of land, which would be dedicated to youth projects, as part of the government’s policy to ensure youth participation in national programs.