Investing in rural development can address factors that compel people to move by creating   business opportunities and jobs in areas like crop production, small dairy and food processing.

These were sentiments by Deputy Minister of Agriculture responsible for cropping, Cde Davis Marapira during belated commemorations to mark World Food Day held in Mapanzure village, Masvingo.

Persistent droughts in dry regions and lack of alternative ways to earn livelihoods continue to force the rural population to migrate to the city and eventually across borders in search of greener pastures.

The 2017 World Food Day commemorations running under the theme “Change the Future of Migration. Invest in Food Security and Rural Development” highlighted the clarion call to enhance rural development.

Cde Marapira who was representing the Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, Dr Joseph Made, said his ministry as well as the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and UN agencies operating in the country will continue working to ensure there is reduced migration.

He said this can be done by capacitating rural communities to be self sufficient in terms of food production among other factors.

Masvingo Minister of State for Provincial Affairs, Dr Paul Chimedza reiterated the need for rural communities’ development particularly in semi arid regions. 

Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) sub regional coordinator for Southern Africa pointed out the impact of climate change on migration.

Currently, a small holder irrigation project is being implemented in Masvingo.

The four year programme is a partnership between FAO and the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Corporation.

The project seeks to improve income and food and nutrition security among communal farmers involved in small scale irrigation.