Mashonaland Central is ready for the 2022/23 Pfumvudza/Intwasa farming season with more than 400 000 farmers having registered for the programme.
This follows the quadrupling of the 2021/22 average yield for communal farmers from 0,8 tonnes per hectare to five tonnes.
The Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme has received record breaking support in the province with a 52 percent adoption rate.
Speaking at the handover of a tractor to a Pfumvudza/Intwasa farmer in Shamva South, provincial agronomist Mr Bernard Torevasei said the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme was one of the most successful Government programmes.
He said communal farmers traditionally averaged around 0,8 tonnes per hectare, but Pfumvudza quadrupled their yields to five tonnes per hectare.
Mr Torevasei said the distribution of seed according to agro ecological regions was also going to boost the provincial production rate.
“This is a great leap and record breaking achievement. In the wake of climate change, this is the way to go. After following the Pfumvudza/Intwasa concepts, we expect the farmer to choose a drought tolerant seed variety,” said Mr Torevasei.
“Some farmers find the cost of fertilisers too high and we encourage them to make use of manure and mulching.
This year, more than 400 000 farmers have registered interest in the programme and Agritex has trained 90 percent of the farmers.
Mr Torevaseyi said they would have covered all the farmers by the end of this week.
“We are expecting to start distribution of the Pfumvudza/Intwasa inputs next week. All the farmers will have their inputs by October,” he said.
The host farmer Mr Lazarus Chapendama won a tractor, a plough and inputs for being the top farmer in the Zimbaseeds Farmer Easement Programme.
Zimbaseeds is a subsidiary of Zamseeds, a Zambian company.
Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Senator Monica Mavhunga said Africa was using homegrown solutions to climate change challenges.
“Zambia and Zimbabwe have strong ties dating back to the Federation era. Zamseeds has been a partner in the SADC seed sector harmonisation which has supported strategic partnership between Zimbabwe and Zambia,” she said.
“The promotion of drought tolerant, high yielding crop varieties will ensure food self- sufficiency of our nations.”
Minister Mavhunga, who was represented by provincial economist Mr Levi Katambarare, said low levels of mechanisation were reducing productivity and thanked Zimbaseeds for donating the tractor.
With only 2kg of Zimbaseed maize seed, a bag of compound D and top dressing on a 50 by 25 metres demonstration plot, Mr Chapendama produced 22 bags of maize.
The yield translates to around 8 to 10 tonnes per hectare, which is above the provincial average yield.
“This year, we experienced a mid-season dry spell from February to March but my crop endured because of the Pfumvudza holes,” he said.
“I entered the competition after Zimbaseed advertised a farmer’s assessment program on social media. Recruitment, monitoring and updates were sent through the internet. They later came for a physical inspection.”
Mr Chapendama urged youths to make use of opportunities availed by Government to uplift their lives and desist from drug abuse.
Shamva South MP Bramwell Bushu said effects of climate change are being felt in his constituency.
He said Shamva is known for agriculture and gold mining.
“No mining can happen when there is no food, so agriculture takes precedence,” he said.
“This young farmer, from Karara village in Shamva has made us proud. This is a resettlement area and this shows that our youths are utilising land given to them by the government,” he said.
“We are facing climate change evident by a difficult 2021/22 season. He won because he used the Pfumvudza/Intwasa concept and a drought resistant seed variety.”
Cde Rich Nyamadzawo urged youths to utilise small pieces of land and become productive.
“There are no irrigation schemes in this area and people rely on rain-fed agriculture. We need a collaboration of farming and agriculture so that after harvesting our youths can turn to mining,” he said.
“We thank the President for the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme. Despite a difficult season our farmers had a good yield.
Maxwell Mataka said their climate proof seed varieties ZMS 623 and 405 were introduced to farmers in the 2021/22 season.
Their wish is to join the Pfumvudza/Intwasa and Presidential Inputs programs so that farmers can increase their yield per hectare.
“Our seed varieties withstand mid-season dry spells and high temperatures which require low nitrogen,” he said.
“We gave the seed to 250 farmers and they harvested an average of 5 to 10 tonnes per hectare in a very difficult season.
“We are here to complement Government efforts and make the vision of an upper middle class economy a reality.” Herald