More than 500 000 farmers have completed land preparations under the Government’s Climate-Proofed Presidential Inputs Programme (Pfumvudza) with most of them confirming that they are ready to plant as soon as the first rains start falling.
Some of the farmers have started receiving inputs while others are waiting for disbursements with a few still working on the last plot.
Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement secretary, Dr John Basera said all the 5 294 agricultural extension officers across all provinces have been trained on the concept.
“A total of 3 255 378 farmers (1 483 195 males, 1 772 183 females) have so far been trained by the extension workers as at September 4, 2020 and the training of farmers is a continuing programme.
“So far 525 439 households have prepared their Pfumvudza plots. The training of farmers and establishment of Pfumvudza plots by the farmers is work in progress and we are targeting over 1,8 million households by October 2020,” he said.
Zimbabwe Farmers Union director, Mr Paul Zakariya said Government supported summer cropping programmes were on time for the season.
“As a farmer union, we are very excited about the upcoming season and the contribution that smallholder farmers are going to make.
“Command Agriculture targeting larger scale producers is also on course. The producers are being processed through approved banks, with successful applicants already collecting their inputs from GMB.
“Of concern are those that are producing out of their own means. Affordability of inputs is a worrisome factor. Inputs prices have continued to soar, even in foreign currency terms,” he said.
Chikwaka farmer, Mr Nicholas Matsika of Rukainga Village said they had finished the holing and were now applying mulch as they are waiting for inputs.
“We have been working closely with experts who guided us on the accurate measurements. We used to do conventional farming and I am waiting to see the impact of Pfumvudza. This is my first time to use conservation agriculture,” he said.
Another farmer in Chikwaka, Mrs Maria Hamadziripi said they were applying mulch which was locally available.
“I have been using conservation agriculture, but have not been mulching. I have seen the benefits and confident of a bumper harvest since the Meteorological Services Department gave a forecast of normal to above normal rainfall.
Agritex officer, Mrs Lucia Hamadziripi said the forecast of normal to above normal rains was a positive development.
“The rains will boost production. Even under the normal rainfall we will always experience dry spells especially in January and that is when Pfumvudza becomes useful, crops will not suffer from moisture stress,” she said.
Another Agritex officer, Mr Tafara Chipanda said the Pfumvudza programme came at the right time when many farmers no longer had draught power as they had lost their cattle to Theileriosis (January disease).
“Farmers have welcomed the intervention and in my ward 60 percent have finished land preparations and are waiting for inputs,” he said.
The Pfumvudza programme is one of the key touch points in the Agriculture Recovery Plan, a blueprint aimed at reversing declining production and productivity trends in the agricultural sector.
The programme will put agriculture on a firm foundation to contribute significantly to a pro-poor and inclusive economic growth trajectory, which is key to the attainment of Vision 2030.