GZU Chivi Innovation Centre boost for community

Great Zimbabwe University Innovation Centre for Dryland Agriculture is working to bring new life to the Chivi district through agriculture and also empowering the local community to take charge of their own future.

Chivi which is under region 5, is a well-known dry land prone to drought on a regular basis, however the center is encouraging the local community to rediscover the power of traditional grains which are more nutritious and better suited to the Chivi environment.

In a meeting held on Thursday, 4 April 2024 in Chivi which was attended by Chief Madyangove, Chivi village heads, GZU Vice Chancellor Professor Rungano Jonas Zvobgo and GZU members of staff who included, Gary Magadzire School of Agriculture and Engineering Dean, Dr Xavier Poshiwa who educated the community on the benefits of farming small grains which are drought-resistant, nutritious and suitable for their district.

 He added that the community will be given the seeds and other inputs to grow traditional grains such as millet, and sorghum. Once the harvest is complete the community will sell the grains back to GZU providing an income for farmers and a source of locally grown food for the region, a project that is known as contract farming. This project is meant to benefit livelihoods in these communities.

Dean Poshiwa also said the University made a deliberate effort to employ people from Chivi district at its Centre for Drylands Agriculture, thereby empowering the community. So far, the University employed 40 people, 11 of them are women in the spirit of inclusivity. Six people are working in the road runner project, nine are working in the milling company where they process the grains into mealie-meal. 11 were employed to build fish ponds for fish farming project and others are building the administration blocks.

He again added that, “Under the Integrated Skills Outreach Program (ISOP), the University is building capacities where people are receiving training in carpentry and building and awarded certificates after completing the program. To date in Chivi 36 people have been trained and the 18 who successfully completed the program were given certificates of competence.

“GZU is implementing a revolutionary road runner project in Chivi of 3500 roadrunners where local farmers will be given starter pack roadrunners to rear and after they are grown they will be bought back by GZU and sold to Supermarkets and where for the first we will have road runner being sold in supermarkets just like the broilers”, said Dr Poshiwa.

Director of Business Development Dr Tafara Majoni added that, the projects at the centre are in line with the government’s vision 2030 of industrialising the nation. He highlighted that, his department is bringing in the 3rd stream of income for the University through the sales of the products.

In an interview with the community one member, Tungamirai Mudereri of Dizanadzo village under Chief Madyangove said they are enthused that GZU is employing their children, they are now benefiting and this has seen the crime rate in their community declining. John Hungwe of Denga village said the projects at GZU is well appreciated in the community, children are being educated to work for themselves and also the community is being developed.

Professor Zvobgo encouraged the Chivi community to embrace the capacity building initiatives and the jobs that they would have acquired so that people can work together for their families.

Chief Madyangove expressed his gratitude with the projects that were brought by GZU which he said have accommodated to the local community. He ended by saying that his prayer is that their children should not disappoint but work well with the employers.

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