ARDA establishes 11 700 hectares of summer crops

By John Nhandara

The Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) planted more than 11 000 hectares of crops on its estates for the 2021-2022 summer cropping season, as the parastatal’s revitalisation programme gathers pace.

The hectarage is a 95 percent jump from the 6 000hectares put under summer crops last season.

Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) Chief Executive Officer Mr Tinotenda Mhiko says the development which has been complemented by the establishment of 104 irrigation schemes, is in line with the Food Transformation and Systems Strategy that is targeting food self-sustenance at house level.

“For the 2021-2022 summer season we established 11 713 hectares of summer crops which is a 95 percent jump compared to the previous season where we had 6 000 hectares. This is split across maize, sunflower, traditional grains. Seventy percent was established by ARDA managed irrigation schemes,” he said.

In an effort to promote production of traditional grains, ARDA is also encouraging farmers to adopt traditional climate smart varieties, especially in the Lowveld, with the authority also promoting sunflower production.

“We are encouraging farmers to put small grains under production and this we have done through our traditional climate smart varieties in the Agro ecological regions. Especially for small scale rural farmers,” he added.

ARDA is on a transformation drive to utilise its vast estates countrywide, with a view to positioning itself as one of the main pillars for national food security.

ARDA has estates which cover livestock, plantations, cereals, horticulture and traditional grains, among other crops.