UNDP and Zimbabwe Farmers Union Launch the Young Farmers Innovation Lab Programme in Harare

Jul 8, 2015

UNDP Country Director, Verity Nyagah, launches the Young Farmers Innovation Lab Programme

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) launched a Zimbabwe Young Farmers Innovation Lab Programme.

This programme is designed as a collaborative entrepreneurship model targeting young farmers to transform their farming practices into productive and commercially viable agri-business ventures. This pilot programme will target 100 young farmers selected from Honde Valley, Murehwa, Gurumonzi, Harare peri-urban and Chimanimani.

Positioned at the center of the incubation programme, the young farmers will be provided with market and business development skills and competencies; exposed to tools, practices and inputs for sustainable productivity (including social, climate-sensitive and economically viable approaches); allowed access to new digital and ICTs for increased productivity. Within this programme, a young farmers marketing label will be designed and developed for branding produce of young farmers on the market – and a revolving fund will be made available as seed capital for the farmers.

Speaking at the launch, the Vice Chancellor of the Harare Institute of Technology, Eng. Quinton Kanhukamwe lauded the initiative as a first of its kind and with potential to revolutionalise the farming sector. As a key partner to the programme, he recognized the central role of technology in driving and enabling innovative solutions in the agriculture sector. The Executive Director of the Zimbabwe Farmers Union – Mr Paul Zakariya extended appreciation to the UNDP for continued support and dedication towards this process. He intimated that the young farmers’ innovation lab is the first initiative of this kind in the long history of farming in Zimbabwe and has potential of not only meeting the food needs of the Country, but also addressing the unemployment challenge among young people. UNDP Country Director in her speech described the young farmers innovation lab as a creative model whose experiences and lessons can be scaled up to benefit many more farmers in the country. She recognized the initiative`s collaborative focus – given the emphasis on private – public partnerships.

The young farmers innovation lab brings together UNDP, Zimbabwe Farmers Union, Harare Institute of Technology, Hypercube Technology Hub, Watershed College, Oxfam, Barclays Zimbabwe and GIZ among others all seeking to leverage their areas of comparative strength – to jointly support young farmers within this pilot. The key results expected from the pilot include:

1.       Support the development of 100 young smallholder agri-business ventures that adopt sustainable production practices (that are climate-and environment sensitive); as well as new technologies for enhanced productivity and profitability. 

2.       Enhance the capacity of 100 young farmers to sustainably produce food crops for the market chains locally and globally with high quality food products – including value addition outputs (in targeted poultry, fresh fruit, Vegetables, Herbs and Spices). 

3.       Build a pool of 10 highly skilled social innovators with capacity to design, test, and pilot and deploy ICT-based agri-business solutions for the food production chain. 

4.       Support the deployment of an end-to-end tailor-made ICT-based platform with solutions to address diverse challenges across the food production chain. 

5.       Support the re-design and deployment to scale of the Zimbabwe Young Farmers Innovation Lab targeting at least 5,000 young farmers by 2017. 

6.       Support the design and deployment to the market of an innovative Young Farmers agro-product Label while establishing market linkages for enhanced profitability.

The Launch took place at the end of a three days Induction Session which gathered all 100 young farmers and 10 highly skilled social innovators for the roll out of the Programme. Click / tap here to start editing

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