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Govt distributes agric inputs to 20 000 urban farmers

GOVERNMENT has started distributing agricultural inputs to 20 000 urban farmers in Bulawayo for the 2021/2022 farming season under the Climate-Proofed Presidential Inputs Scheme, popularly known as Intwasa/Pfumvudza.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week officially launched the National 2021/2022 Pfumvudza/Intwasa scheme in Gokwe North.

Intwasa is a concept aimed at climate proofing agriculture by adopting conservation farming techniques and involves use of small plots and applying the correct agronomic practices for higher returns.

The Intwasa/Pfumvudza programme, designed for small-scale farmers will this season benefit 2,3 million households in the communal, A1, small-scale commercial farming and old resettlement sectors to produce cereals, oilseeds and legumes in the forthcoming summer cropping season.

In light of the rapidly growing population, Government adopted the programme to address the problem of low production productivity and to boost food security in Zimbabwe.

Under the programme, each farming household received an input package comprising 10kg maize seed, 10kg sorghum and Compound D fertiliser.

Youths and women in Bulawayo have started receiving the inputs with a total of 20 000 farmers benefiting from the scheme. According to available statistics, a total of about 2 139 275 farmers were trained last year across the country.

Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Judith Ncube on Monday launched the programme in North End suburb in the city.

Minister Ncube said this was in line with achieving Vision 2030.

“We commend the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development for coming up with an

Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy and Support from various stakeholders here present. The vision of achieving an upper-class income by the year 2030 attains great support in this Province,” she said.

“I am confident that the massive uptake of Pfumvudza/Intwasa which is earmarked at supporting 20 000 youths and women will go a long way in developing a robust agriculture base in Bulawayo Province to ensure food security and nutrition that will contribute to the national development.”

She said with the growth of the urban population, there was a compelling need for the utilisation of the available agricultural land through implementing sustainable techniques such as Pfumvudza/Intwasa.

“Pfumvudza/Intwasa technique has come to ensure that existing agricultural resource base is maintained and improved in terms of soil health and achieving sustainable agriculture intensively. I urge the people of Bulawayo to fully embrace the Pfumvudza Intwasa programme so that the province can contribute to the national breadbasket,” she said.

Minister Ncube also condemned the malpractices that affect the county’s agricultural productivity.

“Poor farming techniques and continuous burning of grass and maize stalks have resulted in destruction of property, soil structure and quality resulting in acute food and nutrition insecurity and low income at households’ level,’’ she said.

Under the 2020/2021 season, more than one million households across the country received inputs under the Government funded Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme.

This year Government has set the target of 2,8 million hectares of maize and traditional grains during the 2021/22 summer cropping season

The Government is targeting 540 000 households to put 103 680 hectares under sorghum to produce 487 296 tonnes.

For soya beans, Government is targeting 560 000 households to plant 20 000 hectares and produce 30 000 tonnes while 500 000 households are expected to plant 32 000 hectares of groundnuts and produce 32 000 tonnes.

About 260 000 households are expected to put 49 920 hectares under pearl millet and produce 124 800 tonnes.

The programme will support five Intwasa/Pfumvudza plots of 39m x 16m in each household with a standardised crop input package drawn from maize, sorghum, pearl millet, soya beans, sunflower, groundnuts, vegetables and cow peas.

In the low potential areas, the five plots will comprise three maize plots, one for family food and two to produce grain for sale, one plot on half the farms for soya beans and one plot under sugar beans or groundnuts or cow peas.

In low rainfall agro-ecological regions, three plots will be put under cereals maize, sorghum and pearl millet.
The maize plot is for household food and the other two plots under traditional grains for commercial sale.

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