Sustainable Agriculture Technology

Tawanda Mangoma in Masvingo 

Government has secured more than US$3 million from the European Union to be used to finance training of agricultural extension workers throughout the country.

Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development permanent secretary Mr Ngoni Masoka yesterday revealed that the funds would be used to improve the skills of the 

country’s agricultural extension workers.

The money would be used to train extension workers under the recently launched Zimbabwe Extension Support and Training Programme expected to run for the next three years.

In a speech read on his behalf by Mr Joseph Gondo, the ministry’s principal director of Agritex, during a two-day training workshop for extension workers, Mr Masoka lamented the shortage of resources which he said had crippled the operations of extension workers.

The workshop was organised by Sustainable Agricultural Techonology and German International Co-operation in Zimbabwe. Mr Masoka lamented the shortage of resources and said this had crippled operations of extension workers countrywide.

“The major challenge affecting the operations of extension workers throughout the country is lack of resources. Our extension workers do not have transport and latest office ware such as laptops and this has affected service delivery,” said Mr Masoka.

He added that extension work should not only be left to Government but encouraged non governmental organisations to come on board.

GIZ programme co-ordinator Mr Ruediger Beherns said the project would mainly focus on four districts that are in natural farming region 4 namely Chivi, Gutu, Masvingo and Centenary in Mashonaland Central.

“We have US$3,2 million which has been availed by the European Union.The German government has given us US$500 000 for this pilot project,” said Mr Beherns.

More than 120 000 farmers are going to benefit indirectly from the Zimbabwe Extension Support and Training Programme while 400 extension workers would also be trained.