Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) Department of Agriculture and Farm Mechanisation is working on setting up premises for the School of Agriculture in Chivi District that will focus on small-grain and livestock production.
The new campus, which will be located at Mhandamabwe Business Centre, is set to harness talent around the area at the same time mitigating the effects of drought on thousands of villagers in the usually dry district.
GZU Vice Chancellor Professor Rungano Zvobgo said they were in the process of mobilising resources for small-grain and livestock training of adults and youths in the district.
“We have started working on modalities to set up the School of Agriculture at Mhandamabwe Business Centre in Chivi district,” he said.
“Our department of Agriculture and Farm Mechanisation will ensure that adults and youths in the district with pre-requisite qualifications receive the training to develop the district.
“We have realised that Chivi district often receives erratic rains, resulting in acute perennial droughts.
‘‘This school will mainly focus on training prospective students in small-grain crop irrigation techniques and livestock production.”
Prof Zvobgo could not disclose the total budget of the projects, saying it was being finalised.
He said they expected civil works on piped water, boreholes, lecture rooms and accommodation, among others structures, to commence soon.
He said the institution’s main priority was to equip the students with knowledge on how to grow small grain crops, including millet, rapoko and sorghum, complemented by livestock production.
“We hope as an institution that the knowledge acquired from the new school will transform the lives of many people in the district,” said Prof Zvobgo.
“In addition, the University will continue to target areas with a history of receiving poor rainfall in the province to improve the country’s food security situation.”
Prof Zvobgo said the establishment of small-grain production and livestock production by the university was in tandem with Zim-Asset’s Nutrition and Food Security Cluster.
“It is our strong mission as a learning institution to provide high quality education to people and at the same time develop their communities,” he said.
Prof Zvobgo said they expected to attract researchers in the agricultural discipline to help at the proposed school, especially on areas around addressing the effects of droughts.
He said Zimbabwe had the capacity to grow crops for both consumption and international export, given its abundancy in expertise and resources in that field.
GZU Dean of Agriculture and Farm Mechanisation Professor Munashe Shoko said the university had acquired 135 hectares of land for the establishment of the new campus.
“Work on the new stand measuring about 135 hectares for the new school will take off soon,” he said. The Herald