Mashonaland Central Bureau
Government will avail resources to complete construction of Shamva Agriculture College at Penmure Research Station in Shamva, Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Dr Anxious Masuka has revealed.
The college has been renting premises from SOS Engineering campus since its inception in 2011.
Dr Masuka, who was officiating at the college’s 8th graduation ceremony last week, expressed concern over poor staff accommodation, inadequacy of farm machinery and shortage of aids for students training.
He said construction of the college was an urgent matter, before commending support from the private sector in the construction of the new premises.
Belcen Investments offered to build some hostels for the college at its Penmure site.
The college offers a Diploma in Agriculture and short courses to improve food security and contribute to the country’s vision of an upper middle-income economy by 2030.
Inmates from the Zimbabwe Correctional and Prison Services were among graduates at Shamva College of Agriculture as the college offers them skills and hope for business opportunities after their release from prison.
Dr Masuka commended the college for the rehabilitation role it was playing, which reduced stigma faced by inmates in communities after their release.
He applauded the college for working with the local community in sharing information on agriculture, aquaculture and pig production.
“The horticulture projects at the college such as hot chillies have attracted many farmers,” said Dr Masuka. “Training of youths and the disadvantaged has enabled many people to embark on income generating projects like rearing broilers and horticulture to improve their livelihoods.
“The college took up the Pfumvudza climate proofed programme and each student was allocated a three plots to meet the college’s food requirement and also generate income.
“I am pleased to learn that Shamva Agriculture College is making efforts as recommended by Government to partner with the private sector and other developmental partners in delivering excellent service.
“We encourage Private Public Partnership to support Government’s initiatives like agriculture recovery and livestock growth plans towards achieving a middle income economy by 2030.”
Dr Masuka urged the college to continue training students to adapt to climate change and technological developments which affect the agriculture sector.
“This is critical to achievement of the 3Ps of agriculture which are Production, Productivity and Profitability,” he said.
The graduation and prize giving ceremony was held under the theme, “Centre for agriculture education, research, extension, agropreneurship, innovation and industrialisation”.
The college enrolled 104 students, 68 females and 36 males.
Since its inception in 2011 the college has trained a total of 195 graduates.