Govt encourages sunflower production

By Mercy Bofu

GOVERNMENT is encouraging farmers to adopt climate smart agriculture by growing crops such as sunflower which also have the potential to reduce the country’s import bill.

With sunflower having been declared as a strategic crop there is a deliberate effort to ensure farmers take up the crop which is critical for the production of cooking oil.

Speaking on the sidelines of a field day in Zaka this Wednesday, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Dr John Bhasera said due to climate change, it is time farmers adopt climate smart agriculture and grow crops such as sunflower which are on demand.

Where we are, it is time to adopt crops like sunflower which is climate smart, which we think will be a game changer especially in oil production. We have since included sunflower on our Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme,” said Dr Bhasera.

Host farmer Mr San Tichivangani, whose mixed crops including sunflower are thriving, said the secret behind good yields is planting early.

“Ini ndakakwanisa kubudirira nekurima nekukasira chibage changu nezvimwe zvatinopiwa nehurumende,(I have managed to do well in farming as I plant my maize seed early when government would have given us the seed)” said Mr Tichivangani.

Seed companies and traditional leaders also urged farmers to adopt hybrid varieties and traditional grains that are drought tolerant. The government is coming up with a number of strategies such as reviving irrigation schemes and climate smart agriculture to ensure food security and reduce the import bill of food items