AgricultureBusiness & Economy

Young entrepreneurs using ICT to advance agriculture get support from Government

Youth involvement in economic development ensures growth and a nation’s overall success. Zimbabwe is endowed with human capital with the majority of it among the youth, Tafadzwanashe Gavi, Agatha Mandovha and Kumbirai Chimkupete’s work of uplifting smallholder farmers through their organisation, Umojalands, using ICT is an example of how the Zimbabwean youth are working hard to establish the nation’s economic growth.

The world is becoming more global the use of ICT is the future, Umojalands is moving with current trends and embracing the use of technology propelling the nation’s stance in e-economy. What is very interesting is how they are working with smallholder farmers who have their majority in remote areas and are usually disconnected from ICT. This innovativeness speaks volumes about the passion present in this project.

Founded by Tafadzwanashe, Agatha and Kumbirai in February 2020, Umojalands recently developed a farmer’s digital identification card enabling banks and micro-finance institutions to access farmers’ data digitally as part of their work.

During an interview with AlphaVisionZim, Tafadzwanashe said that “the card’s main function is to connect farmer data with lenders and de-risk lending to smallholder farmers”.

Smallholder farmers are considered to be risky due to inadequate farmer information in the financial sector and the distance between the farmers and financier is detrimental to accessing funding opportunities. This led to the development of the farmer’s ID card.

Regarding the role the government is taking, Tafadzwanashe had this to say:

“The government of Zimbabwe has extended a line of credit towards agriculture activities through the land bank formally known as Agribank, input loan (command agriculture through CBZ), and funding through microfinance.”

“The government is assisting young farmers who are doing well in joint ventures with command inputs from the CBZ. We teach young farmers how to do agriculture as a business and encourage them to apply for land putting project references where there are doing their project. The government is well appreciating the work being done by young farmers and has much need support through inputs, mudhumeni services, and agriculture libraries.”

“As an organization, we have recently sent an MoU to the ministry of lands of Zimbabwe to work closely together in helping us to build an inclusive financial ecosystem with farmer rating where all banks and microfinance will access farmer data and manage their loan portfolio”

He further went on to mention that their MoU was much concentrated on the resources they required from the government. These include extension officers, motorbikes, ICT infrastructure as well as office space and the government is keen to help them solve problems marginalised farmers face.

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