Traditional Grains Producers Association (T.G.P.A) Chairperson Basil Nyabadza has seen his advice to the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education taken to industrialise and modernise our education including agriculture.
In an exclusive interview with TechnoMag, the former Agricultural Rural Development Authority (ARDA) said he implored the government of Zimbabwe to introduce specialists in every sector be it scientists or crop scientists in specific crops and not just lean on their degree in crop science.
The University of Zimbabwe having taken a leaf from its minister professor Murwira has broken new ground by housing the Zimbabwe Science Park which President Mnangagwa commissioned yesterday.The building housing the Zimbabwe National Geospatial and Space Agency (ZNGSA), a game-changing facility will enable the country to effectively manage its natural resources, predict natural hazards and also mitigate the effects of climate change.
In a recent exclusive interview Basil Nyabadza the TGPA Chairman&Reapers CEO trail-blazed the need to create specialist graduates in specific crops urging Ministry of Higher & Tertiary Education Minister Professor Amon Murwira to Churn out Graduates relative to our Agriculture so we do not leg behind and be able to value add our Agriculture in Zimbabwe creating masters in modernisation and industrialisation.
That message was taken heed of not just for agriculture but every other sector as the Zimbabwe National Geospatial and Space Agency will be manned by the country’s young sharp scientists, who are benefiting from innovation hubs that were also introduced by President Mnangagwa as part of Education 5.0, a concept which places higher institutions of learning as champions of modernisation and industrialisation, the ZNGSA will be deployed for earth observation satellites, global navigation satellite systems, unmanned aerial vehicles, geospatial and space technologies for better farming, mineral exploration, wildlife conservation, infrastructure management, and disease surveillance.
Nyabadza had earlier made a call to Minister Professor Murwira to adopt these changes in Education 5.0 to modernise, industrialise and value add so that we shift our focus with an education system that creates specialist experts
Speaking to TechnoMag he said“we must now maintain the thrust and remain people who are prepared to learn…we are running a marathon…there is much more to be done…if we had a graduate in ground nuts he will be well versed but a graduate in crop science its too many crops a jack of all trades and a master in none ..Minister Professor Murwira is a listening Minister…I was in Brazil before we started Chisumbanje..They went on to design machines from one crop…it’s not just about one crop …that’s the specialization…12 months of the year ..let’s graduate from growing maize alone…the next year we dedicate to export crops…”
Nyabadza advice to the Ministry will for example see the country going beyond the two products we make from groundnuts in Zimbabwe which is just peanut butter and snacks and see education 5.0 value adding nuts into an alternative source of diesel fuel, explosives, greases, and in actual fact 37 other engineering products this nation has never dreamt of.
In the same vein on that advice, His Excellency President Mnangagwa echoed Basil Nyamadza’s sentiments
“In the context of fast-changing national and global realities, the acceleration of science, technology, and innovation remains necessary for promoting sustainable development, building modernised economic systems, and promoting transformations across all sectors. “In addition, science, technology, and innovation are important catalysts to realise a high quality of life for our people.
“As such the setting up of the Zimbabwe National Geospatial and Space Agency Building and Science Park are important building blocks for addressing these realities and achieving the outcomes set out in the National Development Strategy 1 and ultimately Vision 2030,” the President said.
The NDS1 places innovation, science and technology as the drivers of the country’s industrialisation and modernisation. “Through projects such as these, Zimbabwe is closing the technology gap, in line with the objectives to develop sustainable solutions to pressing development challenges. “Furthermore, our country is on course to grow all sectors in sync with the dictates of a competitive global marketplace.
“The Zimbabwe Science Park being opened today is undoubtedly a critical first step for developing national capabilities towards further technological developments. “The Science Park is a purpose-built cluster of office space, which provides laboratories, workrooms, and meeting areas designed to support research and development in science, information technology, artificial intelligence, machine learning, the internet of things, biotechnology, virtual reality, and robotics, among other fields.
“It will also offer facilities that foster innovation, in line with Education 5.0 and the development and commercialisation of technology,” he said. The President challenged technopreneurs, those in the private sector, high tech companies, indigenous start-ups, academia and Government institutions to utilise the Zimbabwe Science Park for knowledge sharing, collaboration, innovation and growth.
“On its part, my administration will continue providing an adaptive science and technology innovation environment that supports the development and use of new technologies. “These technologies help improve connectivity in rural areas, as well as other forms of communication-related to radio and television signal broadcasting, data collection, mobile banking systems and transport infrastructure.”said Mnangagwa.
Complementing his own advice to Murwira who now invited President Mnangagwa to UZ for this space technology, Nyabadza had cemented that research is key in every intitute of higher learning.
Mr nyabadza made it categorically clear to Technomag that “we must pay a research levy..if you ask the ordinary Zimbabwean about greases coming out of groundnuts they won’t take you seriously..look better late than never. Africa has been declared a source of raw materials..what we need my brother is a degree in raw materials..then you find out through your students why are we exporting raw materials…why are we exporting tea…to prioritize getting our land back that is commendable…we are forever indebted to the first republic….this debate is testimony of that …you are a hunter you came sniffing around…guided by yesterday’s deeds, today’s deeds to build up tomorrow….what’s coming from Bikita…what’s coming from Tsholotsho…”
He spoke on decentralisation of our education, encouraging education 5.0 by Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education Professor Amon Murwira to stop creating jack of all trades who are masters in none so that Zimbabwe may value add its own agriculture and be able to deduce for example in ground nuts alone the remaining 37 products we must be beneficiating instead of making only two products we have and make in Zimbabwe which are peanut butter and snacks.
From groundnuts we can make a substitute of diesel for fuel, glycerol for explosives, lubricants and greases, paint and printing ink, varnishes, in metal drawing and tanning, putty for windows, foam for fire fighting, insecticides or sprayed on water for insect control global pesticide, soaps and detergents, sprayed on fruit to delay spoiling, chemicals, which are billion dollar industries we are not tapping in or even taking advantage of equity from firms who buy raw materials of groundnuts from us.
Similarly from sugar cane alone Zimbabwe today should be boasting of E60 yet we are on E20.Brazil has nothing but sugarcane with machinery and equipment, engineers getting jobs on sugarcane or groundnuts so we beneficiate, value add and specialise.Nyabadza speaks of how the Chisumbanje Ethanol project with Billy Rautenbach was started after then CBZ Group CEO now Reserve Bank Of Zimbabwe Dr John Panonetsa Mangudya helped set up the joint venture so Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans benefit from value adding and specialising in sugarcane to produce ethanol a good example of what specialists can do in any crop and not just being jack of all trades who cannot benefit country or themselves.
Nyabadza emphasized on the need to start on research and not neglect all the five vital aspects of agriculture development saying ,
”the graduation of Mai chimuti is the future in our country…founded on our European graduation system…our bankees are trained to look after a polished diamond they are not trained to look after an unpolished diamond..an unpolished diamond is Mai chimuti in the rurals.”
”Research is ongoing…we don’t regard research…we don’t put our money when it comes to research…”
”When we talk of development in agriculture there are five stages which are critical and intertwined..your research, production your processing your marketing, and consumption..in other words the by product that comes.”
””we tend to run to production forgetting about research”..”today we are under threat of climate change…we are by far an agricultural economy”, Nyabadza said.
President Mnangagwa also spoke Nyabadza’s same language at the space technology site at UZ saying “I am pleased to highlight that to date, Zimbabwe has developed an ambitious space programme blueprint to enable full utilisation of space technology and innovation to enhance economic growth. “I commend the Zimbabwe National Geospatial and Space Agency engineers and scientists for setting up the Ground Control Station in Mazowe.
“Congratulations and well done for this first national space project which lays the foundation for space and scientific programmes in the country. This is indeed a major step in enhancing the deployment of earth observation technologies in supporting the National Development Strategy,” the President said.