By Sydney Gokomere
Shurugwi, October 11, 2016 – SHURUGWI women farmers are set to benefit from a community agricultural training centre that will impart modern farming skills to enhance food security in the drought prone Midlands district.
The Japanese embassy provided a grant of $87 000 for the construction of the centre.
The project was initiated last year through the assistance of a local non-governmental organisation, Local Initiative and Development Agency also known as Shurugwi Partners.
Shurugwi is a low rainfall district with villagers now turning to small grains to avert hunger hence the need for new farming techniques.
Speaking at the handover ceremony of the centre recently, Japanese ambassador to Zimbabwe, Yoshinori Hiraishi said the centre would capacitate small holder farmers with requisite skills and knowledge on how best to work their pieces of land for maximum production.
“The centre is providing accessible training to local small holder farmers, mostly women and youths from local farmers’ associations to learn modern farming techniques given the persistent drought,” Hiraishi said.
“Farmers can also add value to their produce as well as learn marketing skills and linkages through theoretical and practical activities.”
He said obsolete farming methods and infrastructure were affecting food security in the low rainfall regions, in which Shurugwi falls hence the construction of the centre.
Hiraishi said enhanced production would also address the issue of malnutrition in the area.
“Climate change, poor infrastructure, outdated farming practices, unsustainable use of natural resource and household food security have increasingly become a challenge not only for Shurugwi but other low rainfall areas in the country,” he said.
The project is also targeting to benefit more than 5 000 small holder farmers under the Shurugwi Horticultural Association, most of whom are women and children.
To date 570 farmers have undergone training at the centre with about 55 beneficiaries being trained weekly.