Fungai Lupande Mashonaland Central
Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement deputy minister Cde Douglas Karoro has urged people in Mbire District to practise conservative farming to achieve better yields and preserve the environment.

Speaking at Chitsungo Mission Hospital recently Cde Karoro said some farmers were abandoning their fields and cutting down trees in search of fertile land causing deforestation.

He added that conservation farming was key in boosting food security in Mbire. “We are experiencing climate change and if people use conventional farming methods we will not have good yields,” said Cde Karoro.

“Conservation farming preserves moisture and enables the community to preserve the environment.

“Adopt seeds that are drought resistant because of the low rainfall patterns in this area. Also chose seeds that are resistant to pesticides due to the high temperatures in this area. The training offered by Carbon Green Africa Company in Mbire is important for our farmers.

“If farmers lack information we will continue to experience drought and we will go back to Government for assistance. This hinders Government from doing developmental projects and use the money towards food aid.

“We want Carbon Green Africa to expand these training to more districts in Mash Central. They are also offering training for bee-keeping and this is another way of preserving the forest.”

Carbon Green Africa Mbire area manager Mr Jacob Smit said the programme started in 2016 and they provide seed packs. The facility has so far benefited about 6 150 farmers in Mbire.

Conservation farming beneficiary, Mr Cloud Winasi, said the farming method was not labour intensive because people planted their crops on small portions of land, but realise high yields. “When the programme started, people were resistant and conservative farming was given many nicknames,” he said.

“We started with small demonstration portion of five by 12 metres of conservation farming and another similar portion of traditional farming methods so that we could compare the results.

“The results showed that crops in conservation farming portion had good harvest compared to traditional farming. This is when people became interested in knowing more.

‘‘We use four conservation agriculture principles vital for this farming method which are minimum soil disturbance, high management, crop rotation and mulching. We have increased our demonstration farming portion to 16 by 39 meters and we get a minimum of a tonne enough to feed a family of five for a year.

‘‘In Mbire the farming season is shorter due to erratic rains. Produce from our demonstration plot is given to vulnerable people in the community.”

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