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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Govt, partners hand over silos to Chiredzi farmers

Story by Gay Matambo

Government and its partners are on a drive to promote the production of traditional grains in Chiredzi district through the provision of post-harvest management facilities.

Under the Traditional Grains Production Project which was rolled out in 2015 by government in partnership with the World Food Programme and the Indian government in Chiredzi and Mangwe districts, 5 metal silos which have the capacity to hold 5 metric tonnes of grain in each silo were handed over to small-holder farmers in Chizvirizvi area in Chiredzi district this Friday as part of the programme’s post-harvest management initiatives.

Beneficiaries of the project say the fabricated metal silos will go a long way in reducing post grain harvest losses.

“Many farmers used to shun traditional grains production because of the labour involved in threshing, winnowing and storage, but we are grateful for this programme that will enable us to produce traditional grains under the Pfumvudza/ Intwasa concept,” one of the farmers said.

Another noted, “We used to face challenges in terms of storing our grain. We are happy now because we will be able to utilise these metal silos thereby increasing food self-sufficiency amongst our communities.”

The project is complementing government efforts in promoting mechanised climate smart agriculture.

World Food Programme representative, Mr Tawanda Magorimbo said, “We have been in partnership with government since the onset of the project when we provided traditional grains inputs to 2 600 farmers within Chiredzi. To come here after the production of the crop and now we are at the stage where farmers have produced and we are now talking of storage and post-harvest handling, is greatly appreciated because we see the progression from the production side all the way up to the storage and the marketing components.”

Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Chief Director, Engineer Edwin Zimhunga said, “We are moving a step further where we want to run away from the drudgery component of Pfumvudza and make sure that we mechanise it right from the production element until we reach to the preservation and storage element.”

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Professor Obert Jiri says incorporating mechanisation initiatives in traditional grains production will cut off perceived labour constraints involved in the processing and storage of the traditional grains.

“One of the key problems in traditional grains production is the processing where we need to firstly thresh and winnow and ensure that our grain is stored properly. We do have partners that are rolling out a programme of threshers and silos. This is very important because one of the limitations of the production of traditional grains is in the drudgery involved in primary processing and storage so the availing of threshers and silos is important,” he said.

In 2022, under the same programme, five threshers and traditional grains inputs were distributed to smallholder farmers in Mhlanguleni area in Chiredzi district as part of efforts to reduce threshing and winnowing labour.

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