First Lady returns to Mhondoro for Agric4she projects . . . encourages women to preserve yields First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa loads maize into a multi crop thresher designed by Pro Choice Solutions at Mrs Florence Mhishi’s homestead during a field day in Mhondoro-Ngezi yesterday.

Tendai RupapaSenior Reporter

AGRIC4SHE patron, First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa, yesterday joined hundreds of beneficiaries of her farming initiative for a field day in Mhondoro-Ngezi and honoured those who attained high yields as she forges ahead with her mission of empowering women and ensure they sustain their families through hard honest work.

Last year, Dr Mnangagwa distributed Pfumvudza/Intwasa input packages to thousands of women countrywide and participated in the entire production process from ploughing to weeding and harvesting.

Addressing thousands of people gathered at Muchemwa Primary School ground, the mother of the nation humbly appealed to them to vote resoundingly for President ED Mnangagwa and Zanu PF in the forthcoming harmonised elections slated for August 23. 

She further called on the nation to observe peace during and after the elections saying as a mother she abhorred violence and wanted to see her children living in peace and harmony.

At the field day, Mrs Florence Chibvongodze-Mhishi (62) came out tops as the best farmer in Mashonaland West and Amai Mnangagwa visited her homestead where she came face to face with the fruits of her hard work.

She started by leading in the planting of fruit trees in the orchard at the homestead before viewing agricultural produce that was displayed by several women farmers.

On display were different types of crops including groundnuts, round nuts, sunflower, sugar beans, white maize and orange maize which is rich in Vitamin A and ideal for eyesight.

Also being showcased were traditional grains that include, sorghum, millet, traditional rice, tomatoes, carrots, diamond potatoes, sweet potatoes, vegetables and avocados.

The women thanked Amai Mnangagwa for giving them inputs to produce the crops under Pfumvudza4She.

The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Development’s Department of Mechanisation, in support of Agric4She and Dr Mnangagwa’s vision, are training women to use the multi-crop-thresher which can complete three tonnes of maize per hour. 

The department is also training women farmers to make solar vegetable driers and the training workshop takes three days. 

Provincial head mechanisation, Mr Ruzoza, told the First Lady that the drier dries leaf vegetables and tomatoes, thus adding value to the vegetables and producing clean dried vegetables without soil aggregates.

The machines and dryers were also on display. 

AGRIC4SHE patron First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa, Minister of State and Devolution for Mashonaland West Mary Mliswa-Chikoka and other women look at crops produced by women under AGRIC4SHE programme during a field day at Mrs Florence Mhishi’s homestead in Mhondoro-Ngezi yesterday.

After the exhibition tour, the hands-on First Lady and several other women got down to business and started shelling maize using both hands and the multi-grain thresher, shelling groundnuts and grinding peanut butter on stone.

She later went to address the gathering at the main venue where she also awarded Agric4She Pfumvudza winners.

“I welcome you all with happiness, uye mufaro wangu as we gather as women in Mhondoro Ngezi. As Agric4She patron I have a vision to support women countrywide with inputs so that they attain high yields. I saw it fit to conduct field days and honour those who excelled with prizes. This will foster competition and women will learn from their peers. I remember when the Ministry of Agriculture approached me with a request for me to lead women under Agric4She. I did not waste time and accepted because I knew women had been left behind in farming. I also accepted because I knew women are hard workers and would not let me down. I am happy that we all produced results. 

“These field days are going under the theme ‘Going 4 Growth, leaving no woman and no place behind’. Last year, I assisted 26 000 women who were mostly widows, the elderly, those with disabilities, youths, orphans and former ladies of the night. I brought seeds, fertilisers and chemicals in both rural and urban areas across the 10 provinces of the country,” she said.

The First Lady said she was glad to see how the women put to use the inputs she distributed as the beneficiaries also witnessed the yield they received through the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme to mitigate the effects of climate change.

“Most parts of Mhondoro are hot. I therefore urge women to plant small grains like millet, sorghum and rapoko next season because they are drought tolerant and so that we get nutritious food. Infants and pregnant women will also benefit from these nutritious foods. I also encourage you to preserve your harvest and use grain storage chemicals kuti musarasikirwa negoho renyu. We are getting into winter which is ideal for vegetables and wheat. I implore those with irrigation facilities and those in wet areas to venture into wheat production. To promote development in the rural areas I urge you to come into groups or clubs to grow wheat so that you can start your own bakeries. Women must plant vegetables in nutrition gardens so that we get good health and development at household level,” she said to applause.

Dr Mnangagwa said she would honour those who excelled who were selected from Mhondoro-Ngezi, Zvimba, Sanyati, Makonde, Kariba, Chegutu and Hurungwe.

“I will plead with the relevant ministry to provide women with machinery to make their farming easier. Kana matractors iwayo tinomadawo tichichinja magiya mumunda imomo,” she said to applause.

Speaking on elections she said; “Pamusoroi vana baba, vanamai nemi vanangu mayouths allow me kuti ndimbobvisa hat yeAngel of Hope Foundation and wear hat yaAmai. I want to humbly ask that you vote for Zanu PF, vote for our President, Cde Dr ED Mnangagwa, our members of parliament and councillors. In 2018 you voted in President ED Mnangagwa and you wanted to see the ‘girl’ behind her and you saw me. Today this is the same girl ini saAmai who is saying let us go out in our numbers to vote. After voting we shall carry forward our projects. I will not tire until every woman succeeds. I am not yet done with you, I want to continue working with you so that I can help you grow and remove you from one point to the other. I shall take the girl child and walk with her, get the boy and walk with him teaching them what hunhu/Ubuntu is. This is the time I ask for this and when done I will go back there to work with the elderly who cannot do anything on their own. This is where I will be but it is only possible if you keep President Mnangagwa in his position,” the First Lady said to huge applause with women ululating and men whistling.

She reiterated the need for peace at all times.

AGRIC4SHE patron First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa, Minister of State and Devolution for Mashonaland West Mary Mliswa-Chikoka shelling maize during a field day at Mrs Florence Mhishi’s homestead in Mhondoro-Ngezi yesterday. — Pictures: John Manzongo.

“If we fight today, how will we look at each other the next day after election? During election time, people will vote one day and that will be done, isn’t it? If you gouge out each other’s eyes and others will be bedridden, how will we relate with one another? Some will be in prison and when you come back how will you relate with the neighbour whose eye you would have pricked? We are all one family and if you are provoked do not hit back. Please my children do not retaliate. Just get into your house and maintain your silence. I do not want to miss any of you after the elections when we look forward to carrying forward our beautiful work. Whom will I work with? My children, we do not want violence in our country. Let us prove to the whole world that we are a peace loving nation” she said emphatically.

The mother of the nation expressed her concern over the challenges of drug abuse across the whole country.

“In all the places we visit, vanangu let us not put illicit brews in our pockets. These make people boil even at times when they are expected to observe peace because they will be intoxicated. We want to see these people who are bringing in these illicit brews. SaAmai zvinorwadza kuona vana vachiparara. I was in Mashonaland East recently where young children said such people must be chained by the police. We have come of age in terms of elections. There are haters and those who want to embarrass us. There are some who were sent to foment violence and others who were paid. We know these things but that has nothing to do with us. Let us not be found in these things and in our country we do not want violence. Isn’t it? Let us go and vote peacefully. When we vote for the President, MPs and councillors, my diary is full of projects and I am just looking for women, men and youths. As a mother I am after my children moving with them in one direction,” she said.

AGRIC4SHE patron First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa waters an Avocado tree she planted at Mrs Florence Mhishi’s homestead during a field day in Mhondoro-Ngezi yesterday.

After her address, the people welcomed her humble plea and burst into song and dance.

The community was so pleased with the works of the First Lady and said they will never let her walk alone. 

Mrs Emma Chikwayi said: “Our mother has been coming here for a long time and initiating projects for us. We are overjoyed because she is teaching us a lot of good things. She is also giving us widows a lot of things to sustain ourselves. Youths and orphans are also being empowered. Our mother asked for votes for our father the President Cde ED Mnangagwa in a humble way and we have accepted her plea. We know if we vote for our father, she will come back to her position and proceed with the projects she is doing especially for us widows who had nothing at all but have been uplifted by her. 

Mrs Emma Chikwayi thanks First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa for initiating countless empowerment programmes and projects for widows, youths, orphans, elderly and those marginalised groups saying she was confident that President Emmerson Mnangagwa will be re-elected in the forthcoming harmonised elections thereby ensuring that Amai Mnangagwa will continue to uplift ordinary Zimbabweans through her life changing programmes and projects around the country.

“Who in her or his right mind would not want our mother to remain as the First Lady, she is a mother to everyone, does not select. We know here in Mhondoro-Ngezi we will vote resoundingly for President Mnangagwa. We are so thankful to our mother who has brought us a lot and is uplifting us as rural women. Today she also gave us inputs for the coming season and we shall go out there and produce more. We are so grateful for her benevolence.”

Youthful Mr Frank Maodza echoed similar sentiments.

“We are very excited as Mhondoro Ngezi that the First Lady visited us here, she does not consider distance because she has people at heart. What we love about the First Lady is that she is always on the ground and she is always empowering women, youths and we are very excited by her speech. She touched on drug and alcohol abuse, she touched on domestic violence, hard work and she appealed for our vote. As Mhondoro-Ngezi we are already saying 2023 ED Pfee. Today I am an empowered youth because of Amai and we are always excited to see her touching each and every corner of the country. This is the kind of mother that we want as a nation. Her humility touches us, she is a very humble and welcoming woman. She appealed for our vote as a mother and in humility. As youths we were touched by this and we are going to vote for President ED Mnangagwa,” he said.

Mr Naison Kumbani said he was happy for the work being done by the First Lady countrywide.

Mr Naison Kumbani commends First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa’s humility as she preached about peace in the forthcoming harmonised elections and also her hard work and dedication towards the empowerment of youths, women, elderly and men through various income generating projects and programmes to restore and preserve Zimbabwean culture and dignity.

“I no longer remember the many times that our mother has been coming here to conduct her various programmes. She is always here with various projects. The greatest word she speaks about is that of peace, unity and love. As we look forward to elections, she has emphasized the need for peace and said we do not want violence in our country. As a mother speaking to her children, she spoke candidly and as a peaceful district we welcome her words,” Mr Kumbani said.

Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Mary Mliswa-Chikoka said her province was elated to host the First Lady who had brought meaningful development to the area.

“As Mashonaland West Province we are glad you have come to complete the programme you started when you gave all the women inputs, came and ploughed with them and today you are witnessing the fruits of your sweat. You are a sower who cast her seed and achieved a good harvest. You have the zeal to uplift women without being selective. All women in Mashonaland West and Zimbabwe as a whole are grateful with your programme and they all embraced the programme,” she said.

Mhondoro-Ngezi legislator, Dr Tawengwa Mukhuhlani praised the First Lady for her regular visits to the area.

“Amai you are indeed on a mission to empower your children. This is not your first time here. You have come back today with the Agric4She programme. Mrs Mhishi is a widow, and Amai you are saying losing one’s loved one does not mean one is finished. By empowering widows, you are showing them what a woman must do even in the absence of her husband. I am happy you have come to support such hard work that is being done here. I also wish to thank our father who allows you to traverse the four corners of the country unveiling many programmes,” he said.

“Mrs Mhishi, the owner of this homestead harvested 12 tonnes of maize, 30x 50kg bags of groundnuts, sunflower 20×50 bags and many other crops. This is a faraway place but you reach all areas through your quest to empower women and make them use their hands. With your hard work we have seen Vision 2030 being attained,” he said to applause.

AGRIC4SHE patron First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa hands over day old chicks, ox drawn farming equipment, farming inputs and knapsack sprayer among other prizes to Mrs Florence Mhishi after a field day at her homestead in Mhondoro-Ngezi yesterday.

Mrs Chibvongodze won borehole fitting equipment, an ox-drawn reaper, 3x50kg Compound D fertiliser, 3x 50kg Ammonium Nitrate, a pocket of maize seed, 25kg wheat seed, 5kg wheat seed, 10kg maize seed, a knapsack sprayer, 50kg lime, 20 day old chicks among other gifts.

In second place was Mrs Martha Chinyangare from Chegutu, while Mrs Veronica Marecha came third followed by Mrs Sherekete Chidhobha from Makonde who came fourth and Mrs Epiphania Madzinga who came fifth from Chegutu.

They all received various gifts courtesy of the First Lady.

To prepare for the next farming season, Amai Mnangagwa handed over inputs and chemicals to women.

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