Farmers have praised the government for distribution inputs early for the upcoming 2023/24 farming season, Business Times can report.
The government is currently distributing inputs nationwide as part of the Pfumvudza/Intwasa program.
The administration is targeting 3.5m households this year from 3m last year, meaning the farmers will have enough time to plan and will give them an early start to the 2023/2024 summer cropping season.
‘’This time the government has distributed inputs early across all the country’s farming provinces and it is now for the farmer to wind up preparations by tilling and applying lime and wait for the effective first rains.
Over the years, the farmers that plant early were guaranteed a good harvest.
“It’s a head start to our farmers as they go into the new season with all necessary inputs. It’s always a dream to start the season with all the requirements,” Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) secretary general Paul Zakariya (pictured) told Business Times adding that early input distribution will ensure maximum productivity on the farms.
According to Obert Jiri, the chief director of Agricultural and Rural Development Advisory Services, the government wants farmers to plant as soon as the first rains fall in order to ensure good yields.
“Now that we have intensified the Pfumvudza inputs distribution, we encourage farmers to intensify preparations on the ground to complement the government’s efforts of increasing production and productivity. We have the extension officers on the ground that can help all the processes to ensure the farmers are adequately prepared,” Jiri said.
He claimed that since implementing the idea, the country has managed bumper harvests and is poised to build on these successes given the resources it has committed to staff training and equipment for extension workers.
To address mobility issues that made it difficult for them to provide advisory services to all the farmers in need, extension workers have been given motorbikes.
Jiri said the farmers are holing their plots and gathering mulch to ensure high moisture retention.
The scheme has the double aim of growing a lot more food and ensuring that rural incomes rise rapidly as small holder farmers move out of subsistence farming into the commercial sector.
This year, the government has included urban population as the small urban plots are upgraded to higher-yielding Pfumvudza plots.
Pfumvudza/Intwasa concept was adopted to address the problems of low productivity, low production and low profitability in farming, which have in recent years been negatively affecting the food security of households and the nation, and depressing the potential income of farmers.
“Small scale farmers going for the full five Pfumvudza plots generally grow at least three times as much food as their families can eat, so earning good incomes from the sales of the surplus, and with other income from crops such as cotton and tobacco and better livestock are moving into the middle-income group,” Jiri added.
Pfumvudza has come handy in mitigating the harsh effects of climate change that have caused severe food shortages in the wake of successive crop failures.
This season the programme will support up to five Pfumvudza plots per household with an agro-ecological region-specific crop input package for maize, sorghum, pearl millet, soya beans, sunflower, groundnuts, vegetables and African peas.
Also, the Zunde RaMambo scheme will support 10 plots for chiefs, seven plots for headmen and five plots each for village heads.
Each farmer will also receive a 50kg bag of basal fertiliser, top-dressing fertiliser and lime and a package per farmer for other optional crops will be 2kg each for sorghum, sunflower, sugar beans and groundnuts as well as 1kg of pearl millet and African peas.