Pfumvudza sets pace at Cop28 Delivering a lecture on climate-smart agriculture to members of the defence forces at the Zimbabwe National Defence University, Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Dr Anxious Masuka said Zimbabwe is now food self-sufficient following climate-smart agriculture interventions that were implemented by the Second Republic.

Leonard Ncube in DUBAI, United Arab Emirates 

ZIMBABWE has set the pace for the world on how to sustainably tackle the adverse impact of climate change in communities through climate-proof agriculture among other economic adaptation programmes.

Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries, and Irrigation Development Minister, Dr Anxious Masuka, said this here yesterday where he is attending the 28th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) at the Dubai Expo Centre.

He told the media that agriculture is richly represented at COP28, which is indicative of its importance both as a recipient of the negative impact of climate change, and also as an adaptation aspect.

Zimbabwe is a good example of the success of adaptation strategies to climate change.

“In Zimbabwe, specifically, we are focusing on adaptation at the household level where we have sustainable intensive conservation agriculture commonly referred to as Pfumvudza/Intwasa, which we have been implementing over the past three years and has led to an increase in the yields and consequently we have become food sufficient,” Dr Masuka said.

“The importance of being at this forum is to highlight first the negative impact of climate change, which we did not cause, on vulnerable countries such as Zimbabwe. 

“Within that context, Zimbabwe, using its resources adapted to a level where we have assured our nation of food security and we are beginning to have exports and to look at like-minded collaborations where we can get resources to accelerate the adaptation strategies that were put in place.”

Dr Masuka said Zimbabwe has come up with “ecological tailoring”, a model where crops that are grown in a particular zone must be determined by the requirements of the particular zone.

He said the country has done a lot of water harvesting through dams as it moves towards the target of increasing irrigated land to 350,000ha by 2025. Similarly, the Government is emphasising traditional grains.

The Minister said agriculture consumes 70 percent of water requirements in Zimbabwe but also contributes 30 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions. 

Dr Masuka said climate-smart interventions would assure the nation of household food security while concurrently priming those households for surplus production in order to attain an upper-middle-income society.

“Farmers are encouraged to do three plots, the first one is for food security, the second for commercial sale, and the third one for sending children to school, that’s how Pfumvudza/Intwasa is structured,” he said. 

“We are transiting from becoming economic spectators to becoming economic participants at household levels.”

The Minister said Zimbabwe was showcasing climate-proofed agriculture at COP28, adding that the model was a game changer in boosting yields and alleviating poverty for a majority of the people.

He said in the urban areas, the concept of transient urban cultivation was introduced this year targeting 500 000 beneficiaries.

Agriculture may not have been omitted from the climate discussions because it is farmers that are most impacted negatively hence the need to look at the climate-food security nexus.

“We are very pleased that agriculture is represented here and we’re not here to weep but to demonstrate that with the good leadership of President Mnangagwa, as a country we have been able to survive under these conditions, and if given support, we would be able to thrive and prosper,” said Dr Masuka.

He said these interventions were being complemented by massive dam construction and water harvesting to boost irrigation farming.

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