President Mnangagwa has pledged to avail 1 000 hectares of sugarcane estate in Chiredzi to award-winning Mashonaland West commercial farmer Mr Tinashe Ziki in recognition of his immense contribution to the farming industry.
Mr Ziki yesterday assumed the title of doctor after being conferred with an honorary doctorate of Philosophy in Agricultural Science and Technology at Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT)’s 17th graduation.
He was recognised for his exploits at his farm in Makonde.
The President made the announcement while delivering his keynote address after commissioning a multi-million dollar milk parlour project by CUT at its Hunyani Farm.
“Today, we conferred a PhD to young Ziki. I was telling the Vice Chancellor, Professor (David) Simbi that I am so proud of the young man. I told Prof Simbi to call Mr Ziki and say we thank him and offer him another challenge. I’m offering him 1 000ha in Chiredzi for sugarcane growing,” said the President to wild applause from the floor.
Mr Ziki’s annual production for cereal oil crops like maize, wheat and soyabean hovers above 1 000 hectares with over 600ha being leased from surrounding farmers using irrigation and rain-fed agriculture.
He has immensely contributed to the nation’s winter wheat production.
Mr Ziki assured the President that he was ready to produce for the nation.
“I am quite humbled to be given such a task. I am more than ready to take up the task and produce sugarcane for the country,” said Mr Ziki on the sidelines of the official commissioning ceremony of CUT’s dairy milking parlour by the President.
Mr Ziki has introduced a geographic information system (GIS) and highly mechanised his farming activities, making it easy for him to realise more yields at his Highbury Farm in Mhangura Constituency and rented pieces of land in the area.
He has broken a record by harvesting at least 21 tonnes of maize from one hectare.
In his acceptance speech after being conferred with the honorary degree, Mr Ziki said he dedicated his accolade to his late parents and family.
He challenged other farmers to take farming as a business while calling stakeholders — including seed houses — to support farmers in line with Vision 2030 and National Development Strategy 1 (NDS-1).
Mr Ziki challenged universities to customise programmes that address challenges facing the nation.
“The honour came as a surprise to me which should not be taken for granted. I will stand as a torch-bearer so that the nation achieves Vision 2030.
“I’m challenged by this honour and I will work to benefit students and farmers to ensure the country’s high yield production,” he said.
The qualified electrician started farming in 1993 in Zvipani, Hurungwe District at his parents’ homestead soon after graduating, before getting 300 hectares at Highbury Estate in 2004 under the Land Reform Programme.
He also won the National Farmers Award at the 2020 Zimlife Agricultural Merit Awards (ZAMA) where President Mnangagwa was the guest of honour.