Zvimba farmers embrace Pfumvudza/Intwasa concept

Precious Manomano

Herald Reporter

Farmers in Zvimba have intensified Pfumvudza/Intwasa, with calls by the Government to diligently stick to the basic principles of the concept to ensure another successful season despite the threats caused by an El Nino year.

The concept has paid dividends to farmers following resounding yields produced by smallholder farmers, who have benefited from Government’s initiatives targeted at improving livelihoods.

The concept is meant not only to empower families to be food and nutrition self-sufficient, but also to commercialise agriculture and ensure farmers earn an income from their produce.

The conservation programme has been an eye opener to most food producers who are now testifying on the benefits of the technique.

Pfumvudza/Intwasa has offered a solution to most farmers who lost livestock to tick-borne diseases as they can always prepare land and have significant yields.

In Zvimba, the situation indicated that the majority of smallholder farmers in the area had so far completed three plots and some are willing to dig more.

The farmers applauded President Mnangagwa for introducing the scheme that has made most families food secure.

This season Zimbabwe is likely to experience El Nino phenomena so as part of climate proofing agriculture, intensifying Pfumvudza/Intwasa concept and irrigation facilities will mitigate the effects of climate change as Government moves to ensure that the country achieves national food security.

The process is progressing well and land preparation is currently underway with farmers busy with holing, that is digging the planting stations, while others are gathering mulching material and other forms of organic matter to deposit in the holes, while securing fertilisers and other necessary chemicals as well.

Villagers in Nyaude area under ward 7 in Zvimba said the inputs scheme will ensure most people escape hunger.

Nyaude Headman Mr Herbert Nyaude of ward 7 said the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme proved to be effective in the previous years, adding that the majority of people who were implementing the concept in his area were harvesting good results.

“I lead by example,” he said. “So far l have completed three plots. We are grateful for Government’s support because this concept has helped us to improve our productivity. We lost our cattle due to tick borne diseases so this concept is indeed a critical component which helped us to boost yields.”

Mrs Pamhidzai Muyutu of the same area said extension workers played a pivotal role in ensuring that people did not resist the concept.

“For the past two years the concept has proved to be fruitful. Yes, at first it was difficult to accept but after seeing wonderful results from others, l have adopted the concept. So far l have completed three plots. I recommend other people to implement this concept,” she said.

Zunde raSabhuku is almost complete with villagers having prepared three plots so far.

Mrs Maria Tembo said she started to implement the programme in 2021 and able to produce food to feed her family and also she sold the surplus adding that extension workers still need to push farmers so that everyone adopts the method to ensure food security.

“Resistance is still there to those who do not know the programme but l can assure farmers that we are doing very well in productivity levels,” she said.

Mrs Tembo has realised the benefits of the programme and has vowed to continue utilising the method even if there are other tillage services available.

Professor Obert Jiri, the head of Agricultural Advisory and Rural Development Services in the Ministry of Lands , Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development indicated that Pfumvudza/Intwasa is the best to improve yields this season, adding that it is critical to grow traditional grains in dryer areas.

“In region 4 and 5 we don’t encourage maize growing; then in region 1, 2 and 3 farmers can grow maize because we do not want policy induced drought. We want every beneficiary to do Pfumvudza/Intwasa. We also give inputs to those who do at least three plots but farmers can do much more,” he said.

Prof Jiri discouraged beneficiaries from abusing Pfumvudza/Intwasa inputs. He said every irrigation scheme should be used, adding that it is the only way to secure food.

Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Mashonaland West Marian Chombo said it is important to embrace Pfumvudza/Intwasa and other moisture techniques and speed up the preparation of their plots.

Kariba district is an area of concern, while also requesting a satellite depot at Siakobvu.

“It is a sad note that this year holing has not been done at the desired speed yet with the given seasonal forecast where we are expecting normal to below normal rainfall. It is important to embrace Pfumvudza/Intwasa and other moisture conservation techniques,” she said.

ZANU PF Zvimba West member of Parliament Mrs Mercy Dinha, who is also a deputy minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, indicated that farmers should consider the Pfumvudza/Intwasa concept this season to maintain high levels of production.

This season, the Government is targeting to distribute inputs to 3,5 million households countrywide under the Presidential Input scheme.

The Government adopted the Pfumvudza/Intwasa/Intwasa concept to address the problems of low productivity, low production and low profitability in farming, which have in recent years been negatively affecting the food security situation in the country.

The concept has also come in handy as a way of mitigating the harsh effects of climate change that have caused severe food shortages in the wake of successive crop failures.

This season the programme will support up to five Pfumvudza/Intwasa plots per household with an agro-ecological region. The Zunde RaMambo scheme will support 10 plots for Chiefs, seven plots for headmen and five plots each for village heads.

Each farmer will also receive a 50kg bag of basal fertiliser, top-dressing fertiliser and lime. The package for each farmer for other optional crops will be 2kg seed for each plot of sorghum, sunflower, sugar beans and groundnuts as well as 1kg of seed for each plot of pearl millet and African peas.

Pfumvudza/Intwasa/Intwasa is a form of conservation agriculture that has been practised for centuries and the concept has now returned coupled with a business motive.

The farmer pays close attention to the number of planting stations, plants per station and the average yield versus domestic requirements and the quantities targeted for the market.

Pfumvudza/Intwasa/Intwasa does not require vast land, yet it yields good quantities of grain, hence the need for farmers to have started preparations for next season because the planting holes need to be ready for planting with the first effective rains.

The organic matter deposited into the planting stations needs to have decayed to reasonable levels for newly established plants to tap into it for nutrients.

The distribution of Pfumvudza/Intwasa inputs according to agro-ecological regions would boost agricultural productivity.

Pfumvudza/Intwasa, the climate-proofed Presidential Input Scheme, introduced in President Mnangagwa’s first term has been hailed as an inclusive game changer benefiting vulnerable households in communal, A1, small scale commercial farming and old resettlement sectors in producing cereals, oil seeds and legumes

It promotes adoption of conservation farming techniques and involves the utilisation of small pieces of land and applying the correct agronomic practices for higher returns.

The Pfumvudza/Intwasa/Intwasa programme is now being spearheaded under the Presidential Inputs Programme.

Under this programme farmers are given free inputs, fertilisers and chemicals and also offered technical advisory services by AARDS extension officers.

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