- Sithole made the remarks while congratulating prominent young farmer Terence Maphosa, known as Terry Map, who had been allocated a plot in Mashonaland West by Government after his much-publicised productivity on a small piece of land that he was operating from.
By Mutsa Makuvaza
OPPOSITION MDC Alliance youth assembly chairperson Tererai Obey Sithole has said the land reform is irreversible and urged Government to allocate land to youths including from his party so that youths take focus away from drugs and hopelessness and channel their energy towards productivity.
Sithole made the remarks while congratulating prominent young agri-entrepreneur Terence Maphosa, known as Terry Map, who has been allocated a plot in Mashonaland West by Government after his much-publicised productivity from a small piece of land that he was using.
Maphosa has been widely praised as a role model for the youths many of whom are sinking into drugs and hopelessness.
“It’s refreshing to see youths such as @terrymap1 making a great impact albeit minimum resources. I would like to congratulate him on his newest milestone. I urge the government to avail land to more youths regardless of party affiliation for assured food security. #MindaKuvanhu,” Sithole wrote on Twitter Tuesday evening.
“You’re doing a good job. You’re inspiring and impacting many. Keep on doing good.”
Sithole defended his party’s record on the land reform issue, saying that the Nelson Chamisa-led outfit never opposed land reform but only disagreed with the violent manner in which the land was seized from the whites farmers over twenty years ago.
“We only made a conscious decision to disassociate with violent and chaotic land grabbing,” Sithole said.
He added: “What we are opposed to is the chaotic nature of land reform and the corrupt disruption of the land. The land reform is irreversible but the process needs an urgent relook.”
Meanwhile, Maphosa has been praised for focusing on productivity which has earned him an offer letter from the Agriculture Minister Dr John Bhasera. 28-year-old Terence is among a new generation of agri-entrepreneurs who are invigorating the agriculture sector with their innovative initiatives.
A Political Science graduate from the University of Zimbabwe, Maphosa’s dream was to land a white-collar job in the city after finishing college. A year and a half after graduating from college, circumstances pushed Maphosa to start breeding and selling indigenous chicken breeds popularly known as roadrunners at his rural home in Mhondoro-Ngezi, about 170 km from Harare.
Commending the young farmer, acting deputy secretary for the youth league Tendai Chirau said Government will continue rewarding more productive youths because President Mnangagwa was committed to empower young people who seek to venture into productivity.
The offer letter for Maphosa, dated 6 April this year, indicates that he has been offered part of Plot 228 of Abendrueh Farm in Mhondoro-Ngezi, Mashonaland West province.
Dr Bhasera had previously expressed satisfaction with the zeal and energy that Maphosa had been exhibiting on his previous smaller piece of land and had pledged that as Government, “we want to assist you”.
Maphosa said he was humbled by the recognition of his efforts by Government and pledged to in turn empower more young farmers with his farming projects. He supplies a number of youths with day old road runner chicks while carrying out various other farming projects.
Roadrunner is a colloquial name for a free-range exotic breed of chicken that scavenges for food. Their meat is tougher and is considered by many to be tastier than broilers.
His breeds include the Black Australorp, Koekoek, Light Sussex, Kuroila and Jersey Giant.
While many young people in Zimbabwe view agriculture as the domain for the less educated and consider rural to urban migration as the only ticket out of poverty, Maphosa has made a name for himself in the village.
Apart from rearing exotic chicken, Maphosa is also involved in crop farming — but he focuses on corn, sunflowers, sorghum and soya crops as a means to reduce the costs of buying feeds.
“The reason why our generation doesn’t see farming as something lucrative is because of our background. When growing up, we were taught to go to school, to be doctors, to be nurses, to be lawyers, to be engineers, nobody pushed us to be farmers. So apparently, they did not push us to be practical, they pushed us to work those white-collar jobs,” he said previously in an interview with Xinhua.
Maphosa’s story has seen a resurgence of interest among young farmers, with more and more young people starting to see agriculture as a viable career path.
“People are now showing the desire and hunger to go into farming, specifically in my field, the roadrunner business,” he said.
Maphosa said agriculture’s image is changing, youth are now turning to farming and value addition of farm produce.
“The way we are doing things, I wouldn’t deny we are making farming look cool, like being proud of your surroundings, you influence the next person to say let me try this,” he said.
Through Maphosa’s social media posts, young people at home and abroad are being motivated to venture into agribusiness.
His Twitter account has gained a significant following, and his name has become a subject of discussion on Twitter.
Maphosa’s simple and authentic rural life, and his appreciation of traditional Zimbabwean food has also attracted the admiration of many.
Meanwhile, Presidential spokesperson George Charamba has also praised Maphosa for committing his focus on productivity. Former youths Minister Saviour Kasukuwere has also congratulated Terence Maphosa on his dedication which has earned him the offer letter. – Zimbabwe Voice / Additional content by Xinhua ■