By Eunice Masunungure
PREVIOUSLY, a bumper harvest was synonymous with farmers who had access to water sources but the Pfumvudza/Intwasa climate-proofing agricultural concept introduced by Government under the new dispensation has been a game changer as seen at this year’s Zimbabwe Agricultural Show.
There were many new farmers exhibiting at this year’s show, thanks to the Pfumvudza/Intwasa Programme.
“We had no hope, before Pfumvudza, of producing healthy crops. We did not know what to do with our dry lands; I did not dream of harvests that could be so huge that I needed to take them to the Grain Marketing Board and Pfumvudza is the reason we are part of the agricultural exhibition for the first time,” said Mildred Kanomwe.
A beautiful story of how Pfumvudza turned around fortunes of numerous farmers in the country in the 2020/2021 farming season has inspired many producers.
Chipo Mudemu, a Pfumvudza beneficiary who showcased her maize produce said the programme was a huge success and, if scaled up, this season will see the country becoming grain self-sufficient.
“I would not be here exhibiting were it not for the Pfumvunza Programme. Back then, even in years with good rains, life was not easy for us in dry areas. The phenomena was that at the beginning of each farming season, dry land was tilled and holes dug while sowing was done once the rains came. The remaining chore was weeding and waiting for the rains. However, when the rains were too much, the soil was eroded together with our seed.
“In the event of excessive heat, seed sown became parched and wilted in a short space of time because the holes were not prepared in such a way to support the crop from all climate variations. Our harvests were dismal. However, I have not changed to another field but have a bumper harvest because of Pfumvudza,” said Mudemu.
Pfumvudza has had a positive impact on the economy as many communities will this season be grain sufficient.
This year’s agriculture show did not just showcase produce but the success of some game-changing methods that the new dispensation is employing to turn the economy around.
The Government’s commitment to agriculture has significantly improved livelihoods across the country.
The current maize yield in the country reflects a 198 percent increase from
907 621 metric tonnes achieved in the previous season.
Sorghum production was 244 063 metric tonnes compared to 103 684 metric tonnes the previous year, reflecting a
135 percent growth.
Pearl millet grew 132 percent to 90 683 metric tonnes compared to 39 032 the previous season.
Finger millet grew 35 percent to 13 223 metric tonnes compared to 13 223 metric tonnes compared to 9 799 metric tonnes the previous season.
Groundnuts grew 139 percent to
208 864 metric tonnes compared to previous 87 479.
Sweet potato grew 269 percent to
422 613 metric tonnes compared to
144 558 metric tonnes.
The country harvested more than
2,7 metric tonnes of maize during the 2020/2 2021 farming.
Agriculture is one of the sectors that was severely affected by the illegal sanctions imposed on the country by Britain and the US.
However, the new dispensation has come with various programmes that have seen production levels being ramped up across the country.
For instance, the Pfumvudza/Intwasa Programme has gone a long way in helping farmers change from poor agronomic practices, poor soil management to surviving the impact of climate change.
The Pfumvudza concept has changed the game for local producers in that its climate-proof agricultural principles help reduce soil loss, or soil erosion, especially in arable areas, it assists farmers to increase productivity and get higher yields from small areas as well as eradicates the previous lamentation of not being near water sources.