Groundnuts imports set to end Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Permanent Secretary Professor Obert Jiri said every inch of irrigable land must be put to the staple crops, including maize and traditional grains and irrigation schemes must be prioritised this season to ensure that the country produces enough in the face of El Nino period.

Precious Manomano-Herald Reporter

A major push to boost production of groundnuts in the 22/23 summer cropping season is expected to raise the harvest next year by 75 percent to around 410 000 tonnes from 347 000ha.

This will probably move Zimbabwe into self-sufficiency for peanut butter and oil.

The Government is promoting the production of groundnuts especially small holder farmers under the Climate Proofed-Presidential Inputs scheme popularly known as Pfumvudza/Intwasa. 

Groundnuts production is also being promoted as a way of encouraging farming to diversify to other crops and expand the export base.

In an interview, chief director Agriculture and Rural Advisory Services Professor Obert Jiri said Government has rolled out several agricultural programmes that seek to drive output in the farming sector to ensure sustainability and national food security systems through the production of grains such as groundnuts.

He said the production of groundnuts should be increased so that the country does not import the crop from the neighbouring countries.

“We used to import groundnuts from Malawi, we do not want to continue doing this. We want to produce our own groundnuts, we need more to produce peanut butter and oil. Yields tend to go down over the past years but next year we are optimistic that we are going to produce more,” he said.

Prof Jiri also said 83 000 of hectares will be put under Pfumvudza and over the years the crop tend to go down because of various reasons such as diseases.

He also said farmers should be well educated on post harvesting handling of the crop to avoid diseases which threaten the crop adding that over the years the crop was put under 200 000ha.

Farmers in Mashonaland West hailed the growing of groundnuts saying it is easy and cheap.

Mrs Mary Matambanadzo of Raffingora said she will continue with groundnuts farming since it does not require more labour.

“You do not require more time and the crop is not labour intensive unlike other crops. Next time l will increase the hectares. Moreover, the crop is on demand,” she said.

Another woman, Ms Stellah Mupuro from Treelawney area said groundnuts is a cash crop which provides income and livelihoods to the family. 

She also said It also contributes to nutrition of farm families through consumption of energy- and protein-rich groundnuts and provides nutritious fodder to livestock.

“You can sell groundnuts anytime, you get money easier and provides livelihoods to the family. 

“We do not grow groundnuts alone but we also other crops which we rely on such as maize, cotton among others, but l discovered that with this crop l get money easier,” she said.

As agricultural scientists push for the growing of legumes and in particular groundnuts in semi-arid regions, they are encouraging the growing of drought tolerant crops as well as mitigating the effects of climate change. Groundnuts are an effective component of semi-arid farming systems supporting nutrient recycling and soil carbon enrichment, a vital component in the reduction of green-house gas emissions hence mitigation against climate change.

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