THE Government will this year distribute agricultural inputs under the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme to match the agro-ecological regions to ensure optimum production and guarantee food security for the country, a senior official has said.
Pfumvudza, the climate-proofed Presidential Input Scheme, introduced in President Mnangagwa’s Second Republic has been hailed as an inclusive game changer benefiting vulnerable households in communal, A1, small scale commercial farming and old resettlement sectors in producing cereals, oil seeds and legumes.
Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement chief director responsible for Agriculture Advisory Services, Dr Obert Jiri, said the Government wanted to ensure appropriate crops were grown in the different natural regions.
“We want to make sure that in an area that we know where a particular crop does well, we will distribute the appropriate inputs,” he said.
Farmers in regions 1 and 2 would be given more maize seed (10kg per plot) and less traditional grains seeds, which do not do well in these areas.
“In regions 3, 4 and 5 we will reduce this to 5kg to 2kg per plot, and to compensate for this, we will distribute more traditional grains such as sorghum, African peas and pearl millet,” he said.
Farmers should work closely with agricultural extension officers in their wards to receive technical assistance in preparing planting holes.
“Extension workers are busy teaching farmers to dig planting holes, apply fertilisers, spacing crops and diluting herbicides,” he said.
The Government had since finished mapping soils in every ward to ascertain acidity levels. Where they were found to be too acidic, it was distributing bags of Lime fertiliser.
“Every extension worker has a map of the agro-ecological region of his ward, so we are encouraging farmers to work with them closely,” he explained.
The Government wants to ensure all the farmers who want to be considered for the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme would have dug planting holes by the time the rains come in November this year, he said.
At least 3.5million households are being targeted under the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme after the Government released $20 billion as part of early preparations for the 2022-23 summer cropping season.
Last year the Government provided inputs to 2.7million communal, A1, small-scale commercial, old resettlement and peri-urban farmers for cereals, oilseeds and legumes.
According to Dr Jiri, the programme will this season support five plots (measuring 39 meters by 16 metres) per household with packages including maize, sorghum, pearl millet, soyabeans, sunflower, ground nuts, vegetables and African peas. The Government has indicated its desire to ensure food security, especially at a time when global food supply chains have been disrupted over the past two years by the Covid-19 pandemic and recently by the Russia-Ukraine conflict. — New Ziana.