Dig and eat;

. Turning Chibhoraniland into a bread basket

In a few months’ time pfumvudza (spring foliage) will be coming out in full force. The seemingly dry trees and shrubs will once more come to life giving us hope as we leave the cold winter and get ready for critical summer when we can produce our food. Pfumvudza, therefore, brings with it new life, so does the Pfumvudza farming concept (Dhiga udye, Dig and eat) that is currently being promoted by the government through the Ministry that is responsible for
agriculture.

The Pfumvudza concept was developed some seven years ago by a religious organisation called Foundations for Farming based in the City of Sunshine. Here research established that a family of six can live for a week on a bucket of maize meal (around 19kg). This adds up to 52 buckets in one year. They found out that you can fill one bucket with 52 medium-sized maize cobs translating to 2912 cobs from the same number of plants. These plants can be grown on a small piece of land measuring 39m by 16m which is only 1/16th of a hectare. Planting holes are dug
in June/July putting in lime or ash, fertilizer or manure or compost and then partially filling the holes,waiting for the first rains to come.

Planting is then done at three seeds per hole. Mulching helps to keep the ground moist. In case of a drought the area is small enough to irrigate by simple watering using buckets. One to two weeks after germination plants are thinned to two followed by fertilization while weed control is ongoing. Come harvest time, there is enough food
for all in the family.

Although the process seems to be labour intensive with some people calling it Dhiga ufe (Dig and die) we need to note that this is taking place on a small and manageable piece of land with most of the heavy work being done during winter when farmers have little to do. This concept leaves the farmer with more land for other crops. We
are happily noting that the uptake of this concept is quite encouraging and hope that the government
will continue to push it more vigourously with more awareness campaigns, inputs and training through Arex officers some of whom were recently given motorbikes to improve their mobility.

This is a good step towards once more turning Chibhoraniland into the breadbasket that it was before. I have already dug my holes and I did not die but will actually live as I am expecting enough food to last me and my family one full year. The other crops I will grow will be sold, hence I am also expecting some income. Pamberi neDhiga Udye!

Forward with the Pfumvudza!

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