FOLLOWING years of punishing droughts, it is heartening that the rainfall forecast for the impending cropping season, is expected to be normal-to-above normal in most parts of SADC countries.
Zimbabwe is among these fortunate countries.
Since we are mainly an agriculture-based economy, it is imperative that we should excel in production when conditions are favourable.
That Zimbabwe should say ‘goodbye to food importers’ as President Emmerson Mnangagwa has declared, is a challenge which should be tackled firmly.
Surely the foreign currency we are currently using to import food, can be diverted to other areas if we are able to grow enough to feed ourselves.
Not only that.
The accepted argument is, we should not only produce at subsistence level, but we should instead be major exporters.
The expected good rains should therefore be a blessing for a country which, of late, has been robustly trying to tackle the problem of food security.
The emphasis on promotion of Pfumvudza, a type of conservation agriculture, and the creation of greenbelts are moves in the right direction.
Climate-Proofed Presidential Inputs Programme (Pfumvudza) is ideal for smallholder farms, whose owners have limited resources.
There is a mistaken idea, especially in rural areas, that yield is in direct proportion with the size of the land planted.
And yet from a small plot, where agronomic practices are applied, more produce can be expected.
Because of shortage of draught power, potholing in the process of zero-tillage can save a lot of time and energy.
Mulching will ensure that moisture is kept while weeds are suppressed, thus saving a lot of tortuous labour.
Because the area is small, it is possible to water the plants with a bucket in case of drought.
With the visible consorted effort we are witnessing, success is certain.
What with the promised smooth and early distribution of the Presidential inputs!
A major challenge is on Agritex, who should make sure there are enough extension officers to educate people on this ‘new’ concept.
People have to be convinced that the concept works.
After initial success, it is likely participants will next time try it on an even bigger scale, all to the benefit of enhanced food security in the country.
Apart from being endowed with ideal agricultural land, we are also blessed with several water bodies, which are not being fully exploited.
The thrust towards opening greenbelts and use of thousands of hitherto virgin land for agricultural purposes is welcome.
The battle to ensure food security must be tackled from as many fronts as possible.
We believe Tugwi-Mukosi Dam and Lake Mutirikwi, coupled with other water bodies in the form of rivers, will play a crucial part in providing water to irrigate the Lowveld, and transform the once arid area into a greenbelt.
Kanyemba is also in the process of using the gigantic water body in the form of the Zambezi River.
That’s yet another greenbelt project running concurrently with that in the Lowveld.
The sum of all these efforts should make it realistic to witness a US$8,2 billion agricultural economy by 2025 as predicted by President Mnangagwa.
Let’s remember: Where there is a will there is always a way.