Thousands embrace Pfumvudza in Mash West
Conrad Mupesa Mashonaland West Bureau
WITH land preparations for the coming cropping season marking the order of the day for most farmers across the country, hundreds of thousands of communal farmers in Mashonaland West’s seven districts are pushing to complete the Pfumvudza/Intwasa plots and climate-proofing their operations on the backdrop of a forecast normal to below normal season.
The country is likely to receive normal to below normal rainfall due to El Nino-induced climatic challenges hence the move by Government to distribute inputs that match various agro-ecological requirements to ensure farmers salvage yields that leave the country food secure.
Farmers who had managed to prepare the minimum required plots have since started receiving inputs while those in hot areas where soils are hard are taking advantage of the current wet spell to fully prepare their lands. The province has set a target of more than 475 000 farmers to benefit from the scheme, which translates to at least 113 000 hectares.
Mashonaland West Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Marian Chombo has been on a whirlwind tour of all the districts in the province to stress acceptance of the scheme, which has proven its mettle in cushioning the nation from the negative effects of harsh climatic changes. It has been operating now for three years, and a majority of farmers have been using it.
Minister Chombo has visited Kariba, Chegutu, Zvimba and Mhondoro-Ngezi districts where she launched the inputs distribution before handing over inputs packages to traditional chiefs for the Zunde RaMambo initiative.
Launching the Chegutu district Pfumvudza/Intwasa Scheme at Larfort Farm in Ward 25 recently, Minister Chombo challenged farmers to put to good use the inputs from Government for the country’s food self-sufficiency drive to succeed.
“This Presidential Pfumvudza/Intwasa Inputs programme is key to our food sustenance drive as a nation. This is the fourth season we have rolled this programme out as a nation. We are calling on farmers to adhere to conservation farming, which in turn helps boost yields. Let’s all use these inputs effectively for their intended purpose and those found selling them will face the wrath of the law,” she said.
Zimbabwe has managed to increase average yields from one to four tonnes per hectare with other farmers surpassing this.
Mashonaland West has laid the groundwork for 360 000 hectares of maize with Agricultural and Recovery Development Advisory Services (ARDAS) provincial director Mrs Evelyn Ndoro saying the province was right on track.
“We have started distributing seed and fertiliser and I want to encourage the farmers in the province to prepare their fields so that they receive the inputs.
“As ARDAS we are grateful that the minister has also been to several districts of the province launching the scheme,” she said.
She added that out of the targeted number of farmers, those in regions four and five including some parts of Kariba rural, Sanyati and Hurungwe were going to receive traditional grain seeds after experts discouraged the growing of maize in those areas.
Speaking at Mr Constantino Siziva’s homestead in Ward 1 of Mhondoro-Ngezi district during the launch of the scheme by Minister Chombo on Monday, Chief Mushava, born Mr Vimbai Machokoto, also challenged beneficiaries of the scheme to effectively use the inputs.