Stakeholders urge speedy adoption of smart agriculture practices
AS the country moves to contain the debilitating effects of climate change on agricultural production, stakeholders in the agriculture industry have collectively called for the speedy adoption of climate smart production methods to boost food security. Head of agronomy with Seed Co Zimbabwe, Mrs Wendy Madzura, head of project Welthungerhilfe Mr Kumbirai Nhongo and chief operating officer Agro-Yield Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ) Mr Simbarashe Mhungu concurred on the need to adopt climate smart agriculture in production, financing and research development during a recent panel discussion at the Climate Change Adaptation Conference 2023.
The panellists highlighted the need for an integrated approach in tackling the effects of climate change through a vigorous framework that includes every aspect of agricultural production.
“We still need to work on the adoption rate on farmer level by encouraging and educating farmers to take advantage of the various seed varieties that are adaptable to the constantly evolving climate and disease environment,” said Mrs Madzura.
The Government has since distributed inputs matching the country’s different agro-ecological regions in which farmers are situated so that they grow crops appropriate to their areas this season.
“Contextualising our climate smart solutions to our situation is critical in ensuring adaptation as different countries face different climate change effects,” said Mrs Madzura.
Furthermore, natural disasters that the country is facing in recent times call for the need to finance and build key agriculture infrastructure that can stand the destructive nature of weather elements.
“We need to grow the resilience of our agricultural infrastructure so that when a cyclone comes the dams, roads or bridges can last, so farmers can continue to benefit,” said Mr Mhungu.
The Government is banking on research to champion the drive for conservation agriculture adoption in the country.
“The main objective of the ZAKIS programme is to contribute to improved agricultural productivity by complementing Government through the implementation of an integrated research education and extension that is farmer centric,” said Mr Nhongo.
“The research aspect instils contextual, relevant and practical ways to build the resilience of our farmers.”
The conference came at a time the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development is emphasising the need to adopt sustainable agricultural production.
The Government has highlighted how the Presidential Input Scheme Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme represents the new wave of entrepreneurship and commerce in the agriculture sector at small-scale level.
It also embraced climate smart agriculture in the 2020/21 season through the Presidential climate-proofed Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme.
In addition, the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme safeguards the concept of regenerative agriculture, which is an approach to farming that aims to improve soil health and soil fertility, as well as protect water resources and biodiversity.