Govt steps up promotion of small grains

Farmers have been urged to promote the production and consumption of traditional millet varieties across the social divide as the grains play an important role in contributing to the country’s food security and good nutrition agenda. 

Hilda Manditsvara, chief crop production specialist in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Development, said this was in line with the government’s national development strategy to transform agricultural systems to strengthen household and national food security. 

She made the remarks at the 11th edition of the Zimbabwe National Seed Fair, running under the theme: “Celebrating the wonder of Zimbabwean Millets.” 

“The promotion of millets and traditional food will help Zimbabwe in strengthening household and national food security, promoting small-scale farmers’ seed sovereignty and resilience, adapting to climate change and achieving sustainable development,” Manditsvara said. 

“This last farming season alone, the nation managed to harvest 280 966 metric tonnes of traditional grains, up from 194 100 metric tonnes in (the) 2021-2022 season. This is a commendable upward trajectory in the production of small grains. It is therefore our stance as government to encourage Zimbabweans across all sectors to adopt and embrace the production and consumption of our traditional millet varieties,” she said. 

She applauded an advocacy farming body, Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM) which promotes the interests, particularly of small grains seed, for small holder farmers. 

The group regularly holds seed fairs at which small holder farmers from across the country participate to promote production of small grains, develop their markets and strengthen seed systems of the crops. 

“We commend the work being done by PELUM Zimbabwe network and the Zimbabwe seed sovereignty programme with other partners in promoting the growing and consumption of local indigenous and traditional foods through such events,” Manditsvara said.

“It is our responsibility to ensure that future generations are food secure and sovereign. Millets are an immediate answer to the threat of food insecurity amidst climate change,” she said. — New Ziana.

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