Dambuza told The Zimbabwean at a youth expo organised by the Zimbabwe Youth Council in Harare last week that this practice and lack of financial access were the two biggest hindrances to the farming aspirations of the young.
“There is a lot of corruption in acquiring land. We urge our members to identify unused land, but the powerful always manage to grab the land ahead of the youths,” she said.
Some studies have shown that certain A2 farmers gained access to land through patronage linkages. In some cases, application processes were manipulated and people gained land with inadequate qualifications and poor business plans.
On funding, Dambuza said support from banks had been very poor for the current season.
“The banks refused to provide funds this year. Most young people are still coming out of high schools or colleges and they do not have properties to provide collateral,” she said.
“As an example, I got a loan for the 2012-2013 season, which I fully repaid, but I was denied similar support this year.”
Dambuza revealed that her organisation was working with students at agricultural colleges.
“Most of the new landowners in the country cannot afford to employ agricultural experts, so we encourage them and help them use their skills to start their own farming projects using the less capital intensive conservation agriculture,” she said.
“We hope that the promised audit of land will make more land available.”
Wellington Charuka urged young people to work hard.
“The high levels of unemployment mean we have to be innovative, and farming is one way for young people to make a living. Hard work is important and, even though we struggle to secure the inputs, we must use what we have and we will be rewarded,” he said.
Access to the nation’s resources for young people has been a thorny issue for a while in Zimbabwe.
The Youth Initiative for Democracy in Zimbabwe conducted a study two years ago with the aim of investigating young people’s views on social and economic rights, focusing on awareness, availability and accessibility.
The study, conducted in Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare and Chitungwiza, showed that, while 76 per cent of respondents had a basic understanding of their socio-economic rights, most felt that these rights needed to be promoted through education.
More than 60 per cent felt that the government should carry out a land audit and redistribute all unproductive land to those who could make better use of it.
More than 30 per cent of the young people felt that the government should provide title deeds to ensure security of tenure, boost confidence in the farming sector and help farmers get hold of finance.Post published in: News