The government is planning to extend the climate proof system, Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme to all crops in the wake of fickle rains that characterised the 2022/2023 summer cropping season.
The prematurely ending of the summer cropping season in March heavily affected the late planted crop resulting in poor yields.
The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Ministry said in a latest report that there is a need to come up with conservative drought mitigation measures to ensure good yields.
“Climate-proofing interventions should be intensified across all farmer categories with emphasis on smallholder farmers through promotion of diversification and use of drought tolerant crops such as indigenous and traditional grains especially in marginal areas of Zimbabwe,” the report said.
According to the government, the impact of Pfumvudza/Intwasa, as a climate-proofing strategy, has revolutionised the agricultural sector and safeguarded household and national food security.
Pfumvudza/Intwasa is a concept of conservation agriculture that is designed to meet food security for an average household of six members over one year.
Pfumvudza/Intwasa is a crop production intensification approach under which farmers ensure the efficient use of resources (inputs and labour) on a small area of land in order to optimize its management.
The climate-proof method involves the utilisation of small pieces of land and applying the correct agronomic practices for higher returns.
It has been defined as a climate-proofing agricultural concept which emphasises the use of conservation farming techniques to make the most out of small pieces of land.
The Ministry said farmers should plant crops or rear animals according to their regions.
“Farming should be guided by weather and climate information therefore choice of crops and livestock grown by farmers must be informed by the agro-ecological region potential,” reads part of the report.
The Ministry said there is a need for hastening completion of irrigation development projects should be a top priority.
In the post Cabinet briefing on Tuesday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the government was already setting up irrigation facilities across the country.
“The Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development told the Cabinet that electrification and installation of centre pivots covering 100 hectares of the 150 hactares Madhodha Irrigation Scheme in Mashonaland West province has been completed.
“The development of 69 ha of irrigation at Chitemene Irrigation Scheme in Manicaland Province was completed,” Mutsvangwa said.
She said 50 hectares out of the targeted 72ha of the Musikavanhu B2 Irrigation Scheme in Manicaland Province were developed and two boreholes sunk.
The construction of Chivhu Dam in Mashonaland East Province is at 98.2% of completion, while the development of 120 hectares of irrigable land is 90% complete.
Cabinet said the construction of the Gwayi Shangani Dam has reached 70.2% of completion.
“In view of the importance of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam in ending the water supply challenges facing Bulawayo Metropolitan as well as Matabeleland
North and South Provinces, Cabinet has directed that more resources be availed in order to expedite completion of construction works,” Mutsvangwa said.
The government is accelerating the construction of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam in Matabeleland North Province.
The dam is expected to pump water to Magwegwe reservoir for onward distribution to the City of Bulawayo.
The construction of dams in arid communities has improved food production and household incomes through small-scale irrigation and fisheries projects.
The government subsequently directed that smallholder irrigation schemes be commercialised and run as business entities from which farmers generate incomes and earn a living to ensure that farmers get the true value of producing crops under irrigation.
It is understood that 50 irrigation schemes will cover 6 865 hectares under the Turkey Phase 1 and the National Accelerated Irrigation Development programmes.
This was followed up by the deployment of 450 business managers to assist farmers with the necessary business acumen in running their irrigation schemes