The government of Zimbabwe has invested $262 million towards the development of an agri-industrial park at a leading educational institution. The Marondera University of Agricultural Sciences and Technologies (MUAST) will feature state-of-the-art irrigation technology and infrastructure.
Based in Marondera, about 70 kilometres outside Harare, it will become a home for a number of agricultural projects while using the so-called “education 5.0 model”. This is in reference to Zimbabwe’s new education curriculum preparing for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
MUAST vice chancellor Professor Justice Nyamangara told The Herald that the park is about 70% complete. We are planning to start off in winter through [the ]winter wheat programme. We will start with 140 hectares wheat and 20 hectares under horticulture.”
The agri-industrial park is part of Zimbabwe’s strategic policy for universities and other tertiary institutions to drive industrialisation in an attempt to boost the country’s economy. Currently, the park is 1 020 hectares large. It includes six centre pivots, 400 hectares of arable land and 300 hectares for cropping.
Water supply into park
At the park, students will be exposed to precision farming that makes use of perfected mechanisms to ensure they are highly competent in both livestock and crop production upon graduation.
MUAST is also set to benefit from the development of the Muchekeranwa dam. Work on a 2.1-kilometre main water supply line from the dam to a reservoir in the park has already begun.
Meanwhile, small-scale farmers who were impacted by the construction of the dam in the Marondera district will also be prioritised by government irrigation schemes.
Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa commissioned the dam in 2021. It can carry 75 million cubic litres of water and irrigate about 2 250 hectares of land. Two weeks ago, the area received heavy rains which caused minor flooding. Provision was made for the spilled water to be harvested and to benefit the residents of the Marondera district.
ALSO READ: Zimbabwean vet student uses agriculture to fund his dreams