Government says it fund various agricultural training programmes so that the country has adequate human resource for national development in accordance to the seventh National Development Plan (SNDP) .
And the University of Zambia Vice Chancellor Professor Luke Mumba says the Institution of higher learning would continue to offer quality assurances services to the Zambia College of Agriculture (ZCA) in Monze to ensure that the institution churns out well trained students.
ZANIS reports that officiating at the 6th Diploma and 66th Certificate graduation Ceremony at ZCA in Monze District yesterday, Minister of Agriculture Dora Siliya said government is committed and supportive of all agriculture training programmes aimed at improving the human resource pool for agriculture development.
Government has placed agriculture as a cornerstone of economic development of the country in the 7th National Development Plan(7NDP) and that one of the key facet of the strategy was to ensure sufficient and availability of the competent human resources for the agriculture sector, Ms. Siliya noted that.
Ms Siliya said this in a speech read on her behalf by Director Human Resources Development at the Ministry of Agriculture Ms Monde Gwaba, during the graduation ceremony held under the theme: “Promotion of a Green Economy through Provision of Quality Sustainable Agricultural Training and Consultancy.”
“Government will continue to provide resources to sustain and expand Agricultural Training programmes in the country in order to produce adequately trained human resources and reduce the gap between the supply of skilled agricultural professionals and the demand for such skills,” said Ms Siliya.
” In the 7NDP government has made agriculture as the cornerstone of economic development of the country and one key facet of this strategy is the availability of sufficient and competent human resources for the sector.
“ And it is clear that these grandaunds from this training institution will contribute to enriching the human resources pool for agricultural development in the country,” she added.
Ms Siliya further noted that the theme for the graduation ceremony resonated well as it reflected the need to address climate change through training of agricultural professionals to address the threat to the sector.
The minister expressed hope that the grandaunds would greatly contribute to the creation of a green economy that is driven by sustainable agriculture.
“Climate change has adversely affected the production and productivity of smallholder farmers through unfavourable weather conditions, often resulting in severe droughts and floods in some areas of our country. In order to address this situation and other challenges that the agriculture sector faces, we need a cadre of agricultural professionals that is knowledgeable in the mitigation and adaptations of climate change,” Ms Siliya said.
Ms Siliya further urged the grandaunds to have a transformative mindset and think of agriculture as a business for them to make a meaningful contribution to the development of the sector in the country.
“I must hasten to say and urge the grandaunds that in order to make a significant contribution to agriculture development, you must have a transformative mindset and think of agriculture as business.
“ I therefore, expect to see 154 agribusiness or farms starting from this group of grandaunts and it is only in this way that you will make significant contribution to the economy of the country through job creation and agricultural production,” Ms Siliya said.
The Agriculture Minister who expressed happiness at the partnership in offering Diploma courses between UNZA and ZCA Management encouraged the two learning institutions to continue improving the programmes in order to meet the needs and demands of the agriculture sector and society at large.
And in a speech read on his behalf by Dr Wilson Mwenya , Professor Mumba said the UNZA through the school of Agricultural Sciences would continue to partner with ZCA in order to offer the best training in agricultural to meet the labour market.
Prof. Mumba also thanked the Ministry of Agriculture for ensuring that training in agriculture at the college was a continuous process.
He advised the graduands to apply the training they received at the institution in order to contribute positively to the development of the country.
” I wish to remind you that the academic qualifications you are about to earn today are but just paper qualifications. Their real value lies in how you will apply the training you received during your period of study here and therefore, to make your academic achievements complete you need to apply yourself into becoming a person who is honest, responsible, resourceful, patriotic and above all humble,” said Mr. Mwanza.
College principal Mr. Mwansa Misumbi said a total of 134 students graduated with certificates while, 124 graduated with Diplomas in agriculture.
He also said the learning institutions still had a number of challenges notably inadequate staffing levels and boarding facilities especially for female students.
In a vote of thanks graunduads representative Mr. Mackson Kalungushi appealed to government to consider upgrading ZCA into a university like other colleges that are currently being upgraded.