Growing up in a rural community in the southern part of Zimbabwe, farming became my passion and a major source of livelihood for my family. I was really amazed with the surplus amount of produce we obtained despite the area being very arid. I later decided to advance further with my education and enrolled for bachelors’ degree in agriculture at the University of Zimbabwe. This opened opportunities for me as I obtained much needed information in the agricultural field, and established networks with academics and professionals.
Upon completion of my studies I founded Youth Agrarian Society an organization that facilitates youth`s access to land and sustainable utilization of such land for farming purposes. Key activities that are implemented by the organization entail training on agriculture entrepreneurship, advocacy on pro-poor and youth centered land policies and information dissemination. To date the organization has managed to carry out a number of projects despite the limited availability of funds. Noteworthy projects include training of young people on nutritional gardening, fruit-tree nurseries management, conservation agriculture, organic farming and climate smart agriculture.
The global development agenda which is outlined by the sustainable development goals (SDGs) emphasizes on agricultural development as key in addressing poverty. Young people have the numbers and skills to drive agriculture growth especially in Sub-Saharan Africa where the backbone of most economies is centered in the sector. However much still needs to be done to attract youth in agriculture as many times the policy environment does not provide for the fundamentals such as access to land, inputs, markets, technical and support services.
GCARD3 is one important platform that brings together stakeholders in agriculture to build effective partnerships that will ensure research meets the needs of resource-poor end users. I am therefore motivated to engage in such a platform where research-based information and skills can be obtained. I envisage using the gained knowledge at our organization to align our programming with the key GCARD3 thematic areas in particular the one that speaks to ensuring better rural futures.
As an enthusiast in community development that is centered on agriculture, I advocate for youth`s access to productive resources such as land through participating in high level networking platforms, social media and contributing articles in agriculture publications( Young Farmers Magazine, Botswana). My participation in various forums that articulate youth`s engagement in agriculture has strengthened my competence in making presentations, session facilitation and making reports.
Farirai Mageza is the Founder and current Coordinator of Youth Agrarian Society a not for profit organization that facilities youth`s participation in land access and sustainable use of such land for farming. He is an agronomist by training who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture (Crop Science major) from the University of Zimbabwe. He is a Zimbabwean who is currently working and living in the country.