Thousands of farmers across the country are making a last minute rush to register for the climate proof Pfumvudza programme, amid concerns over rocketing prices of inputs, it has been established.
Zimbabwe Farmers Union secretary general Paul Zakariya, told Business Times that the recent spike in inputs costs has seen farmers wanting to join the programme.
“There is a haste dash to the Pfumvudza programme following the recent increase of input prices. We expect the climate proof numbers to double this year as most farmers struggle to finance their farming activities due to volatility,” Zakariya said.
“Had the farmers been paid on time, they would have bought their inputs on time.”
In the last summer cropping season, farmers planted 202 037 hectares and attained an average yield of 5.28 tonnes per hectare resulting in a yield of 1.06m tonnes.
With the exclusion of Pfumvudza the national average yield stood at 1.16 tonnes per hectare.
This means the national yields may go past 3.1m tonnes of grain due to the intensification involved in the conservative farming.
A Goromonzi based farmer, Last Kamukono said the increase in inputs costs has seen him opting for the Pfumvudza programme.
“I was not part of the [Pfumvudza] programme last year but having seen the increase in inputs prices, I decided to join the climate proof programme and what is very good about the programme is that inputs come to your plot there is no application involved no waiting period involved and no paying back involved hence the programme is a confidence booster to us.”
He said given the intensity involved in the programme, delivering one tonne of maize to the Grain Marketing Board is the least of his worries as he expects a huge output from a small piece of land.
Business Times can report that the Agritex officers are already in the field and carrying out training programmes across the eight farming provinces.
Over two million farmers have so far been trained for the programme to improve farmers’ understanding of the programme and acquire new agriculture techniques that improve production. The inputs distribution has started and the government is intensifying it to ensure every farmer gets inputs by the end of this month.
According to the Meteorological Services Department, rains in some areas may start this month and farmers with long season varieties can start planting.
Beneficiaries described the programme as a game changer in the country’s quest for food security as the crops are resistant to the mid-season dry spells which usually occur in Mid-January as the mulch in the field helps to retain moisture.
The Pfumvudza farming concept is meant to climate proof the agriculture sector by adopting conservation farming techniques and maximising yields per unit area.
Zimbabwe’s maize national average yield surged 144% to 1.39 tonnes per hectare during the 2020/2021 summer cropping season from 0.57 tonnes per hectare last year following the good rains that have characterised the better part of the season.
This has seen Zimbabwe recording a surplus of over 800,000 metric tonnes after recording a 2.71m tonnes this year with a climate proof initiative topping the charts with 1.06m tonnes.