Mashonaland East Bureau
Farmers in Mudzi in the north-east border with Mozambique should maximise harvests of traditional grains, since they are drought resistant and grow faster in their region than maize introduced last century, Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Mashonaland East Aplonia Munzverengwi said this week.
Officiating at the Mudzi Agriculture Show held at Kotwa growth point on Tuesday she was impressed by the traditional grains exhibited and said Mudzi should be the hub of production of such grains. Mudzi is natural region 4 and is low, hot and dry.
“I have seen a lot of agricultural produce here. However, out of all the produce I saw, traditional grains are there in plenty. There are good exhibits of sorghum, rapoko and millet. In this regard, I am calling on all farmers in this region to focus on commercial farming targeting these grains.
“If you compare maize grains harvested in this region to the traditional grains, one can see that farmers here had a good yield of traditional grains. I am now encouraging our farmers in this region that even under Pfumvudza /Intwasa programme, let them put more plots on traditional grains, than one on maize. “These grains can endure even dry spells. To our farmers in Mudzi, I encourage you to maximise on traditional grains production. As a province, we have to reach that stage where our grain marketing boards are filled with traditional grains from Mudzi. Mudzi should be a hub of traditional grains,” she said.
Mashonaland East Provincial Agritex director Mr Leonard Munamati said this season, the province is planting more land to traditional grains.
“So this coming season, we are encouraging our farmers in Mudzi, which is in natural region 4, to grow traditional grains. Under the Pfumvudza programme we are saying three plots should under traditional grains, that is mandatory, and two other plots are optional, one can do maize or groundnuts.
“Last season we had farmers who grew traditional grains and produced better yields than those who grew maize. So this time around we are increasing hectares on traditional grains and this will increase yield.”
Mr Gilbert Mutawu a farmer from ward 2 in Mudzi district said he has been growing traditional grains since 2007 and has been harvesting good yields. Farmers who grow traditional grains in region 4 will never go wrong.
“These grains are good in our region. I have been growing traditional grains since 2007 and I have never been affected by hunger. I have been getting good yields.
“This year I have 12 tons of traditional grains which I harvested.
‘I encourage most of the farmers in this region to focus on growing traditional grains. They will never go wrong. These crops do not need a lot of rain but one can get good yields.”