By Staff Reporter
NATIONAL Young Champion Farmer for 2019, John Muchenje has challenged people with disability to think beyond their physical limitations by taking up farming as a career.
Muchenje, who is also Apex Council for Youth in Agriculture chairperson, was speaking at a recent International Day of Persons with Disabilities Commemorations at Stanley Hall, Makokoba, Bulawayo.
“As a farmer, it is my hope to see people with disabilities actively participate in agriculture since agriculture is the new frontier for Zimbabwe’s development and equally participation is the cornerstone for its success,” he said.
Muchenje said opportunities within the lucrative field were vast, as availed by the current Emmerson Mnangagwa led administration.
He continued, “I urge and challenge you to knock every door which you might need to get assistance.
“The President has an open door policy and we expect the same with other Ministries, Parastatals and private sector.”
The Chirumhanzu maize and cabbage producer said agriculture provided opportunities is for all regardless of one’s health status or political affiliation.
“Everyone has a right to food, shelter and also participate in farming. Agriculture has a lot of opportunities that can be utilised by people with disabilities like your organisation, it is an industry which has constant technological innovations.
“It is through introduction of technology in agriculture that will allow you to participate regardless of your condition.”
Muchenje said the country’s lands ministry has also initiated smart agriculture which was another possible window people living with disability could exploit to be productive and “to eradicate hunger in the country”.
“Zimbabwe has vast track of lands which is under-utilised and we feel that after the land audit, you must be allocated part of the land…There must be a small percentage reserved for you.
“I have noted that you are already involved in Agriculture – there is a Greenhouse at Jairos Jiri and also chickens productions for the Albino association.
“As we think of turning Zimbabwe’s economy towards vision 2030, it is my plea to all the private sector here present to support these projects with financial and technical assistance.
“Next year we must come and tour Radda Foundation farm and it must be a demonstration centre for great innovative ideas and Agri-tech information centre for the people living with disabilities and other farmers across the country.”