By Providence Maraneli
Farmers in Bulilima District of Matabeleland South Province are confident of a successful summer cropping season, with government providing inputs to produce traditional grains under the climate proof Pfumvudza /Intwasa farming concept.
It is midday in Diba village of Bulilima area and Gogo Kheke Nyathi and a group of fellow villagers have just finished preparing a plot at her homestead under the climate proof Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme.
Gogo Nyathi says they decided to come up with a working group to ease the challenges of working as individuals.
The senior citizen and other nine members of the group are looking forward to a successful summer cropping season after government promised to distribute inputs based on the ecological regions.
“We have just done this plot at my homestead, and I am looking forward to having five plots this season. What excites me more is that we are going to receive traditional grains because if you look at what happened in the previous season when the rains disappeared, those who had grains survived,” she says.
“We came up with this group to ease the labour intensity associated with Pfumvudza, so today we dig holes, and we move to the next member’s field and to do the same. By the time the season starts, we will all be done,” said a farmer.
“We learnt a lot from the last summer cropping season, and we are not going to repeat the same mistake. Small grains were the only crops that gave us something and with the government promising to give us that seed its going to help us,” noted another.
With Bulilima being in climatic Region 5, agriculture experts are also excited about the focus on traditional grains which are drought tolerant, as explained by Bulilima District Agritex extension officer, Mr Peter Masoja.
“We have kick-started the registration of Pfumvudza farmers and so far, 12 000 farmers have registered in the district and about 7 000 have been trained.
“We are using the lead farmer approach. As a district we are so excited that we are going to receive the small grains because they are drought resistant and we have been training farmers on it and the reception is positive,” he said.
For a sector that is targeting an agricultural economy of US$8.2 billion by 2025, the huge uptake of the Pfumvudza/Intwasa concept coupled with good rains can improve prospects of achieving that vision.