Fungai Lupande Mash Central Bureau
Shamva Agricultural College will be renamed after the late Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Resettlement Minister Air Chief Marshal (Rtd) Perrance Shiri for his immense contribution to the agriculture sector in the country.
Construction of the college will start in the first quarter of next year at Penmure Research Station in Shamva.
Topographical mapping of the Shamva Agriculture College has already been done and bills of quantities are going through the procurement department in the Ministry of agriculture.
Speaking at the construction site in Shamva yesterday, Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development Deputy Minister Douglas Karoro said the honour was befitting for the sterling work done by the late minister.
“The late Minister Shiri spearheaded the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme and the revival of the agriculture sector. This is a lesson to all of us that your good works follow you to the grave. Your family and friends will be proud of you when you are no longer here on earth,” he said.
“The construction of Shamva Agricultural College puts the country in good stead to harness, document and capacitate youths in agriculture space started way back in 2011.
“The college is still renting premises from SOS and Bindura University of Science Education (BUSE). Budget allocation for the construction of this college appeared in the Blue Book but somehow the funds were returned to the Treasury without any developments.”
Cde Karoro called on all responsible authorities to put to rest illegal mining activities in the college premises and revoke mining titles.
It emerged that some of the miners have mining titles approved as late as July this year.
Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Senator Monica Mavhunga said: “Our provincial economy is anchored on agriculture and this college is a research and learning centre for communities,” she said.
“The college is prioritised in the provincial development strategy and a motion to have it renamed after the late Minister Shiri was moved a while ago. He was passionate about the development of the college.
“We are very excited and we want our people to have expertise in farming. Illegal mining is a challenge that needs to be addressed.”
The Director for the Agriculture education department Dr Jotamu Dondofema said Shamva Agriculture College was established in 2011 to pioneer training of extension workers in response to the Land Reform Programme. The college is in its 9th intake and targets to enrol 400 students.
“We wish to have our 10th graduation at the new site. The college has ambition to become a university therefore its construction is going to be smart and standard,” he said.
“Our challenges include funding, transport, machinery/ equipment, irrigation equipment, ICT infrastructure and illegal gold mining.”
Chief Bushu said constriction of Shamva Agriculture College at the permanent site was testimony of the development brought about by devolution.