A lot is being said about Pfumvudza. Not a single day passes without mention of it in the media. We are told that because of Pfumvudza there is going to be a bumper harvest of maize, soya beans and other crops. Numerous field days are being held across the country as farmers show off their Pfumvudza crops. Thank God the rains were good enough and maybe too much in some areas. GMB depots that had gone for years without any grain are being refurbished and many more have already been set up in expectation of high inflows of pfumvudza maize from commercial and rural farmers. Now, thanks to pfumvudza, for the first time in many years we are going to have enough to eat without having to import maize grown by farmers we chased away during the haphazard land reform programme.
On the backdrop of this success the government is naturally patting itself on the back for introducing Pfumvudza and supporting farmers with training and much needed inputs. The way it is depicted gives the impression that Pfumvudza is a baby of the government when in actual fact it is not. Pfumvudza was originally conceptualised and pioneered by a white Zimbabwean man by the name of Brian Oldreive working with Foundation for Farming, an organisation he founded based in Harare. Through prayer as a born again Christian he was gradually led through the development of the Pfumvudza concept from as far back as 1984. For him everything in life is founded on unselfishness, humility and faithfulness to Christ, hence his development of the Pfumvudza concept through what he calls Farming God’s Way.
Of course traditionally we have our own ‘’chibhakera’’ tilling concept whereby farmers used hoes to till the land. But that was or still is for the poor who do not have cattle or donkeys and a plough to till their land. Pfumbvudza is a well-researched concept that if properly implemented produces tangible positive results. Unfortunately it took our government so long to realise the benefits of pfumvudza. It was only after Oldreive visited the late Air Chief Marshal (Rtd) Perrance Shiri, then Minister of Agriculture and Rural Resettlement and convinced him of the benefits of Pfumvudza. Shiri was impressed and brought the concept to cabinet where it was adopted. From there he rolled it out on a national level and pushed really hard. After his death his successor, Dr Anxious Masuka took over and faithfully followed in his footsteps and here we are talking of bumper maize harvests.
While pushing Pfumvudza as a viable programme it is important for government to recognise the originators of the concept and be grateful to them for their fruitful efforts. Let us hear the government publicly and genuinely thanking Oldreive and his organisation for coming up with the pfumvudza concept, a job that was well done and is now benefiting millions. It is due to their efforts that we have a well-developed concept that ensures us of good harvests even when the rains may not be abundant. The man Oldreive deserves a lot of credit even noting that if he hadn’t personally persuaded Shiri we would not be where we are today.
It could be that Oldreive, being a humble Christian requested that he may not be publicised as the pioneer of Pfumvudza. If not we need to see government publicly acknowledging and thanking him. We have just been celebrating our independence acknowledging and thanking the heroes who freed us from colonialism. Oldreive is a man who dedicated his life to freeing us from hunger. Here is a man who therefore, on our own national level deserves to be a national hero, while on the international level he could be running towards a Nobel Peace Prize as Pfumbvudza is now being practiced in 40 African countries with stations emerging in the 5 continents of the world. The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to deserving people while they are still alive. We do not have wait for someone to die in order to award him or her national hero status. Oldreive deserves national hero status while on the continental level the African Union can also acknowledge his contribution to food security in numerous African countries. Let us see the face of Brian Oldreive, our Pfumvudza national hero and give credit where it is deserved.