Mthabisi Tshuma, Sunday Business Correspondent

THE Youths in Agriculture Apex Council Board (YAACB) has dismissed rumours that selection of youths in Government funded agriculture programs is based on political affiliation.

This comes as some have criticised the distribution of the 200 piglets to young farmers countywide by the Government.

President Mnangagwa also recently launched a piggery project where smallholder farmers will benefit from a piggery scheme under the Presidential Livestock Inputs Support programme. The programme will see an initial 10 000 weaner piglets, donated by the largest private pig producer, being distributed to beneficiaries, benefit agricultural colleges, research institutions, security services farms, women and youths among others.

In a statement on Wednesday, YAACB chairperson Mr John Muchenje said the distribution of the piglets is non-partisan.

“In a hard-hitting response to accusations that the pig project recently launched by the President of Zimbabwe HE ED Mnangagwa is partisan project aimed at benefiting Zanu PF youth only, as the YAACB we would like to encourage Zimbabweans to move away from practising toxic politics of assuming that everything that is done by the President or Ministry of the Youths is aimed at benefiting ZANU-PF youths only.

“We have to understand President Mnangagwa is a full President of the entire Zimbabwe hence when he rolls out projects for youth his focus area will be the generality of Zimbabwean youth and not biased towards any political or social affiliation,” said Mr Muchenje.

Mr Muchenje urged youths who want to benefit from such programs including land which will be rolled out by the Government after the land audit is finalised, to apply to the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement.

“I urge all youths who are involved or want to be involved in Agriculture to collect and submit their land application forms at the Ministry as we continue to advocate for youth quota on the land distribution.

“In further guaranteeing the inclusiveness of youth agricultural projects, l challenge anyone who has been left out of any project in the Second Republic because of their political affiliation to bring their grievances and we will address them with fairness,” said Mr Muchenje.

Mr Muchenje called for unity among youths in the agriculture sector so as to increase the viability of one of the country’s economy backbone.

“A nation can only be sustained by level headed youth who are not waiting for handouts. As youths we need to be mature and utilise the opportunities being availed to us by the New Dispensation, “said Mr Muchenje.

Meanwhile, another batch of 200 piglets are expected to be distributed this week to young farmers with provinces who did not benefit from the first that include Matabeleland South province set to be on the priority list.