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Traditional grains survive drought says Govt

Story by Tendai Munengwa

ACCORDING to a government crop assessment, around 70 percent of farmers who planted traditional grain plots under the Presidential Inputs Scheme will achieve a decent harvest despite the current lean summer cropping season.

The assessment revealed that the majority of farmers who planted traditional grains will have a harvest.

Professor Obert Jiri, the Permanent Secretary of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, and Rural Development, stated to ZBC News that out of the 650,000 hectares of land that was used for traditional grains, 70 percent of them are expected to yield a good harvest.

“I can safely say that the strategy of allocating drought-resistant crops to regions three, four and five has worked. Less than 30 percent of Traditional grains were affected by poor rainfall patterns with the bulk of farmers who planted small grains under the Pfumvudza/Intwasa plots expected to get a decent harvest,” he said.

Chief Agronomist, Mr Ivan Craig underscored the need for every farmer to take heed of the government’s call to diversify into traditional grains.

“Going traditional grains is the only way we can achieve sustainable food security at the household level.”

Finger millet and sorghum are the main traditional crops planted, with Masvingo province leading in terms of the hectarage planted.

Since the launch of the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme and the decision to allocate traditional grain seed according to agro-ecological regions has paid dividends with rural households who applied the smart agriculture concept assured of food on their table.

Over 650 000 hectares of land were this year put under traditional grains countrywide as part of government efforts to climate-proof agriculture and ensure food security at household level.

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