Runesu Gwidi in Bikita
A senior Government official has challenged communities here to be self-reliant and stop relying on food handouts from the State every year. Bikita District administrator Mr Bernard Hadzirabwi said it was wrong for communities to always expect food handouts from Government and donors which he said should only occasionally intervene in times of extreme emergencies.
Addressing participants attending the annual Bikita District Agricultural Show held at Duma-Imperial Foods Hall at Nyika Growth point last week, Mr Hadzirabwi said communities in the arid district had potential to achieve food self-sufficiency.
“High expectation to receive Government drought relief food handouts is not good for our district and the nation at large,” he said.
“It does not work for economic development. You need to work hard and produce a variety of crops so as to overcome perennial drought-induced by climate change.”
Mr Hadzirabwi said diversifying into production of drought-tolerant small grains and venturing into irrigation were some of the interventions to mitigate effects of recurrent droughts.
He applauded Bikita farmers for improving their yields in the 2017- 18 cropping season.
“The number of people in dire need of drought relief food aid has since dropped. During the previous years, nearly every villager needed Government food aid, but this year on average of only nine in every 100 people per ward need food aid.”
He said Zimbabwe is one of the countries in the SADC regional bloc which has the potential to produce grain for international export.
Bikita Rural District Council donated $350 for payment of affiliation fees to the Masvingo Provincial Show Society, a plough and wheelbarrow for the top two farmers at the exhibition.
Mrs Evangelista Mudefi of Ward 15, in the Silveira area of Bikita, emerged as the overall winner and walked away with a plough, while Mrs Revinah Sithole of Ward 32 in the Rozva area, came second and received a wheelbarrow.
The judges (Agritex officers) at the exhibition were examining farm produce quality in horticulture, livestock and field crops. The winners automatically qualified for the provincial finals to be held at a date to be announced.
A total of 107 farmers drawn from all corners of Bikita participated in the agricultural exhibition which ran under the theme: “Unlocking Investment Potential for Economic Development”.
The objective of the agricultural show was to instil a spirit of perfect competition among farmers in the district in various agricultural disciplines.
Present at the agricultural show were senior officials from various seed houses in the province among other officials from agriculture line ministries.