‘Time to kick out food dependency syndrome’

Ashton Mutyavaviri

GOVERNMENT is accelerating efforts to empower all citizens to achieve food self-sufficiency and bury the food handouts culture and plans to give more inputs to vulnerable groups – the elderly, child headed families, orphans and the chronically ill who want to use more than the standard three plots required under the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme.

In a recent statement, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development permanent secretary Professor Obert Jiri said Government would step in with food assistance for needy cases now but strongly called for the eradication of the dependency syndrome among the general populace.

“Government’s focus is to make sure everyone has enough food on the table.As the old adage goes – ‘Don’t give people fish but teach them to fish,’ Government has come up with cocktail of resilience building measures and climate smart technologies aimed at ensuring food security for everyone, everywhere and every day instead of doling out free food handouts,” said Prof Jiri.

He urged the targeted groups of people to have established at least three Pfumvudza/Intwasa plots before thinking of receiving food assistance during the peak hunger period.

Added Prof Jiri: “Humanitarian assistance will now be a thing of the past, as communities embrace Pfumvudza/Intwasa for household food security. Vulnerable groups can also request for more inputs from the Government if they want to increase the number of plots under Pfumvudza/Intwasa. Thus families needing more food will be assisted to grow more.”

He further explained that everyone, irrespective of their different agro-ecological regions must adopt Pfumvudza/Intwasa to reduce food insecurity among households.

Poor adoption of climate-proofing technologies has resulted in increased numbers of insecure households especially in the drier regions of the country, he observed.

“Over the last three seasons, Pfumvudza/Intwasa has been modified to improve output largely through selection of the best crop varieties for each region (agro-ecological matching).

Productivity levels from Pfumvudza/Intwasa plots surpass those of conventionally grown crops. Only those who religiously follow the Pfumvudza/Intwasa tenets will realise the benefits of this climate-smart technology, Prof Jiri further observed.

He said no one would die of hunger in Zimbabwe adding that farmers should carry out all vital operations such as planting, manuring, applying fertilisers and controlling weeds and pests at the appropriate time.

“Farmers should also mulch their crops with residues (stova) or other dry organic material to improve water infiltration and reduce evaporation from the soil surface,” he explained.

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