Business - Featured - Local - Uncategorized - February 24, 2021

Technology and Innovation: The new face of Agriculture

By Staff Reporter

Technology and innovation has shifted the scope of the agriculture sector in Zimbabwe for the better, with the youth being active leaders of this new movement BusinessMail can report.

Animal Scientist and livestock enthusiast Mr Davidzo Chizhengeni (24) is a backyard livestock protein source farmer working from his home in Mufakose, Harare.

“I am into alternative protein sources for livestock such as moringa trees, leukenia trees, hydroponic fodder, azolla and vermiculture with a target market of small scale livestock producers,” he said.

Mr Chizhengeni uses the smart agriculture technique through the booking system and this helps in satisfying every customer and also fully utilizing the space available with a ready market in mind.

“Due to issues of place l have put in a place a booking system so that l can manage the limited space that l am currently working on. Right now l can supply 500 moringa trees every 6 weeks which is the nursing period for the trees,” said Mr Chizhengeni.

“The idea is to fully utilize the space you currently have so that you participate in the value chain but given a bigger space l am able to supply even the commercial livestock farmers nationwide,” he said.

Agriculture has been made attractive for the youth due to many innovations being made in the sector daily. Where one would struggle to slaughter chicken for the market, it has now been reduced to being a task which takes only a few minutes with innovations such as the one designed by Miss Evangelista Chekera (32).

“Growing up l always used to dread slaughtering chicken because it was a messy and time consuming job and those are some of the major reasons why l decided to innovate a slaughtering device which would not only make life easy for the farmer but also cut on time spent slaughtering chicken .l started looking around and found some models which l specifically designed to suit the Zimbabwean bird after l had realized that the birds differ with the types of feed there are given and this helped in bringing to life the slaughtering device l designed in 2016,” she said.

Miss Chekera said the innovation solved one problem but the sales were not very impressive and through market research she learnt that most birds were not surviving up to the time of slaughtering and most of them were being affected during the brooding period which is the first 2 weeks mostly because of heating issues and so she came up with a brooding device.

“Innovation is all about problem solving but the first machine l designed proved to be a problem again because it was using charcoal which l later learnt is not good for the respiratory system of the chicks and also the environment. I came up with a brooding device that is powered by biomass brickates and uses farm waste and maize stock which is all clean and renewable energy,” said Miss Chekera.

Miss Chekera said she is currently working on producing more slaughter devices and brooding devices and she said the brooding device is still a bit expensive than charcoal being produced in small quantities.

In an interview with BusinessMail, Chief Programs Coordinator, Youth Desk in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Resettlement Mr Nickros Kajengo said his office is advocating for youth participation and inclusion in Government programmes such as Command Agriculture, Pfumvudza among others.

“Farming is the way to go, the means of livelihoods and one way the nation can alleviate poverty. Zimbabwe is an agro based country hence all young people must since the economic anthem from the same hymn book,” he said.
“Already the youth have taken this fundamental policy (NDS1) to another level , fruit tree planting, market gardening, lawn and flower production are being implemented. The ministry is being led by leaders with a hands on approach and who are very passionate in regard to youth participation in the agriculture value chain,” said Mr Kajengo.

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