Follow Pfumvudza prerequisites, farmers told

June 23, 2022

LIVINGSTONE MARUFU

 

The government has urged farmers to follow Pfumvudza/ Intwasa programme procedures to achieve desired results amid plummeting yields to failure to adhere to the pre-planting requirements.

The Pfumvudza programme recorded an average of 1.4 tonnes per hectare from 5.28 tonnes per hectare the previous summer cropping season due to failure by farmers to observe conservative farming methods.

Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development  Minister  Anxious Masuka told Business Times that  there is a need for accelerating climate proofing strategies for smallholder farmers to increase production.

“We recommend farmers in the  Pfumvudza/ Intwasa programme to have mandatory pre-conditions of training, holing out and mulching  to get the desired results that we  have achieved the previous season,” he said.

Zimbabwe experienced one of the worst dry spells in years but Masuka said with mulching and well dug holes the crop was going to withstand moisture stress.

“Maize and sorghum production under Pfumvudza/ Intwasa decreased by 54% and 80% respectively in the 2021/2022 owing to reduced productivity as a result of a poor rainfall season.

“Most farmers did not adhere to the Pfumvudza/ Intwasa principles, especially application of mulch and crop rotation,” Masuka said.

In the 2022/2023 summer cropping season, the government is planning to include herbicide and water retention enhancers in input package and capacity building on water-harvesting technology to be prioritised.

Maize, sorghum and sunflower will be mandatory crops for each household in higher rainfall areas, and sorghum, millet and sunflower in lower rainfall areas, while discouraging maize in low rainfall areas.

CBZ Agro-Yield, which is a partnership between the bank and the government as part of efforts to curb the ever-growing imports, has scored the highest yield per hectare in the past summer cropping season following the timely distribution of the inputs and irrigation schemes.

Most of the farmers in the Agro-Yield are established farmers with title deeds or securitised assets that can be disposed of in case one fails to repay loans.

In a latest report, the farmers had close to four tonnes per hectare.

“51 932 hectares were put under CBZ Agro-yield at an average yield of 3.89 tonnes per hectare resulting in the total output of 202 209 tonnes.

Under the CBZ Agro-Yield, Midlands recorded the highest average yield per hectare of 5.55 tonnes followed by Mashonaland West and Masvingo ranking last at 1.13 tonnes per hectare.

This year a total area of 1 900 754 hectares were put under maize with a projected yield of   1 557 914 tonnes of maize thereby giving us an average of 0.82 tonnes per hectare.

This is a huge drop from 1.39 tonnes per hectare recorded during the 2020/20221 summer cropping season.

This is attributed to late onset of the season, intermittent and prolonged dry spells experienced in most parts of the country as well as poor rainfall distribution across most parts of the country during the peak production period of the season.

National maize production is dominated by the A2 sector contributing 34% and managing an average of 3.11 tonnes per hectare with small scale managing 0.45 tonnes per hectare.

“The communal area farming sector that normally contributes the highest maize production over the years was hard hit by the prolonged dry spells,” the report said.

Overall, the small scale farmers are projected to reach 502 858 tonnes and the highest being A2 at 522 666 tonnes.

The total cereal production is 1 752 014Mt against a national cereal requirement of 2 267 599Mt (1 817 599Mt for human consumption and 350 000Mt for livestock).

Zimbabwe has sufficient grain stocks in its strategic grain reserve, which will help ensure food security up to the next harvest, a new government report shows.

 

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