By Mercy Bofu
THE government has called on farmers in dry regions to focus on growing traditional grains given their drought resistant features through the grain swap programme.
As part of efforts to promote the growing of small grains especially in dry regions, government has introduced a grain swap programme that will allow farmers with small grains to exchange for maize at the Grain Marketing Board. This was revealed by the permanent secretary in the ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Dr John Basera during a field day in Chivi.
“We are saying to our farmers in areas like Chivi where usually they receive low rains, it is time we grow traditional grains like mountains, mapfunde zviyo among others since we are going to allow them to swap with maize at the GMB,” said Dr Basera Permanent Secretary Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development.
Host farmers Mr. and Mrs. Chitanga who concentrated on a number of crops last year including nearly 2 hectares of groundnuts said market for traditional grains and legumes has been a problem.
“Apa takarima nzungu dzedu dzakatiwandei nekuti ndozvinotiraramisa kana takutengesa tinotobuda kuenda kunanaGweru nedzimwe nzvimbo, (we have planted a lot of groundnuts as it is our cash crop we sell as far as Gweru)” said Mr. Chitanga a farmer.
Mrs. Chitanga concurred with her husband that they survive on selling groundnuts, “Vana vedu tinotovaendesa kuchikoro kuburikidza nekurima ikoku saka tinofarira kuti tigonotengesera kuGMB (we are able to educate our children through farming and we should sell to GMB).”
Despite effects of climate change especially on food security, government is adopting various measures to ensure food security including reviving irrigation schemes and adapting climate smart agriculture initiatives.