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Hwaire wins best sugarcane student farmer award

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Hwaire wins best sugarcane student farmer award

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Mirror Reporter

CHIREDZI – Former Science teacher and now sugarcane farmer, Ruth Hwaire was the toast of a Sugar Association Experiment Station (ZSAES) graduation ceremony held in Chiredzi last week when she walked away with the Best Student Award plus US$750 cash.

Hwaire was among 32 farmers who went through the two-year programme that saw them receiving sugarcane production certificates. The ceremony was held at Hippo Valley and the Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, and Rural Development, Douglas Karoro was the guest of honour.

The second, third and fourth position went to Innocent Murambiwa who got US$650 and Blantina Chipare US$500, and Angela Matsvai US$500 respectively. ZSAES’s target is to train all the 1 200 new sugarcane farmers in the area.

The small scale sugarcane farmers were drawn from different sugarcane associations including Commercial Sugarcane Farmers Association of Zimbabwe (CSFAZ), Hippo Valley Productive Sugarcane Farmers Association (HVPSFA), Mkwasine Sugarcane Farmers Association (MSFA), Zimbabwe Sugar Development Association (ZSDA Royal Trust), ZSDA and Lowveld Sugarcane Farmers Association and 2 Agritex officers.

Hwaire is a member of the Mkwasine Sugarcane Farmers Association (MSFA). Of the 32 graduands 16 were women and the other 16 male and the course is for free. The course is only for farmers with offer letters, their spouses and children and Agritex officers.

Karoro hailed ZSAES for introducing the training programme which has seen production by the farmers increasing by up to 80% per hectare. Farmers on average produced 38 tonnes per hectare but the programme has seen most going over 50 tonnes per hectare.

Hwaire is not just the best student but is one of the best farmers producing an average 100 tonnes per hectare.

“These type of trainings empowers farmers to enter into production of specialized crops and also permits continuity in farming operations,” said Karoro.

The class started with 45 students, four pulled out at the beginning, 8 failed to complete and farmer died before completing the course.

ZSAES Director, Dr Audrey Mabveni said the training programmes were started in 2019 after it was realised that some farmers were actually wasting away land and most lacked expertise to grow sugarcane.

“We realised that most land given to small scale sugarcane farmers under the land reform programme and we decided to intervene and increase yields,” said Mabveni.

The first intake was in January 2018 with 60 farmers.

Hwaire said that the training turned her into a better farmer and her yields increased by 100% from 50 tonnes per hectare to almost 100.

CSFAZ member Fabion Mavheneka Zurukuze who also graduated with a pass said his yield is increasing significantly through the training he received from ZSAEs.

Meanwhile, in 2008, the average industry cane yield was 69 tonnes per hectare while out-grower farmers were at 38tonnes per hectare.https://masvingomirror.com

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