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Govt extends YBU begging bowl

GOVERNMENT has extended a begging bowl to its development partners as it seeks funding to sustain and expand the Youth Business Units (YBU) across the country.

GOVERNMENT has extended a begging bowl  to its development partners as it seeks funding to sustain and expand the Youth Business Units (YBU) across the country.

The YBUs have emerged as transformative platforms which empower rural youths to become financially independent through various agricultural initiatives and projects.

Speaking at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Green Jobs for Rural Youth Employment Learning Event held in Harare, Youth Empowerment, Development and Vocational Training deputy minister Kudakwashe Mupamhanga said government would initiate several projects in its efforts to arrest drug and substance abuse.

“We cannot ignore the pressing challenges posed by the El Niño-induced drought, which has impacted employment opportunities and food security, particularly in regions such as UMP [Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe], Rushinga, Mt Darwin, Muzarabani, Gutu, Hwange, Lupane, Tsholotsho, Chipinge, Mudzi, Guruve, Mbire, Mutoko, Shamva and Binga,” he said.

“In this regard, we humbly request the continued support and funding from FAO to sustain and expand the YBUs in these affected areas.”

Mupamhanga said a government steering committee on drug and substance abuse is expected to address the pressing issue through a multifaceted approach, including the promotion of youth engagement in productive agricultural activities.

“We recognise the profound impact of global geopolitical events, such as the Israel-Gaza conflict and the Russia-Ukraine war, on food security worldwide.

“The post-COVID-19 landscape has also presented unique challenges that require innovative solutions. As we navigate these turbulent times, we look to FAO, Sadc and the United Nations for guidance and support in achieving sustainable development goals,” he said.

The Green Jobs for Rural Youth Employment Learning Event, which is funded by the Korea International Co-operation Agency, has so far assisted approximately 288 youths in six districts across Zimbabwe.

In an interview with NewsDay, Precious Chakaingesu (28) said she and members of her group benefited from the initiative through projects such as poultry and farming.

The group has secured a new grinding mill for production of poultry feed.

“We get at least US$700 per month in profit and we then share US$70 each. The balance is then ploughed back into our project. We managed to buy a new grinding mill for making poultry feed,” Chakaingesu said.

FAO representative for Eswatini, Lesotho and Zimbabwe, Louis Muhigirwa urged stakeholders and the government to support young entrepreneurs.

“Let’s, therefore, take this as an opportunity to support their noble causes, which we all witnessed in these past two days. We were reminded this morning to treat them as businessmen.

“There were many important lessons and FAO assures you with commitment that these will be packaged in a report that will be owned and endorsed by the youth participating in this project,” Muhigirwa said.

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