Extension services for 500 000 urban farmers
THE Government’s push not to leave anyone or any place behind in its developmental programmes is also taking agriculture on board with 500 000 urban farmers set to get extension services under the Pfumvudza programme, as a way of boosting food security and incomes.
This comes as the country journeys towards the attainment of its vision of becoming an upper-middle-income economy by 2030.
Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme is set to benefit 3, 5 million farmers in communal, A1, small-scale commercial farming, old resettlement and peri-urban farmers in the production of cereal, oilseeds and legumes.
Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development chief director responsible for Agriculture Advisory Services Professor Obert Jiri said the delivery of extension service to urban farmers was essential.
“Extension services will also be delivered to urban farmers to make sure that they adhere to the principles of Pfumvudza conservation agriculture. We want to ensure food self-sufficiency at all costs, therefore training of farmers is indeed vital,” observed Prof Jiri.
Zimbabwe Integrated Commercial Farmers Union (ZICFU) president Mrs Mayiwepi Jiti said the delivery of extension services to urban farmers would increase their capacity of production.
“The delivery of extension services will result in urban areas producing substantial tonnage assisting the urban population on food security immensely since they practise the Pfumvudza/Intwasa conservation agriculture, which has the potential of enhancing the yield,” Mrs Jiti said.
Meanwhile, the Government announced that this year the distribution of seed for the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme would be modelled to match agro-ecological regions’ climatic and soil requirements to boost production.
Farmers in ecological regions one and two will get inputs to produce three mandatory maize plots and have the option to choose between sunflower, pearl millet, sorghum, groundnuts, African peas and sugar beans.
In natural region three, farmers will be supplied with crop input packages to plant two mandatory maize plots and sorghum or sunflower plots with their three optional plots comprising sunflower, sorghum, pearl millet, groundnuts, African peas and sugar beans.
Farmers in regions four and five will get an input package to plant one mandatory sorghum plot, one millet plot and one sunflower plot with farmers getting the option to choose between maize, African peas, ground nuts, sorghum and millet for the two remaining plots.
The country adopted the Pfumvudza/Intwasa concept based on the principles of minimum soil disturbance (holing out), mulching to conserve moisture, timeliness of operations and adoption of good agronomic practices
National food self-sufficiency is crucial to the Government’s economic development tool – the National Development Strategy 1, which identifies food security and nutrition as key drivers of economic revival.