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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Innovations to improve success of the Pfumvudza programme

Innovations to improve success of the Pfumvudza programme

Story by Kenias Chivuzhe

The Pfumvudza/ Intwasa programme continues to gain widespread acceptance, among farmers especially in mountainous areas of Manicaland with youths coming up with innovative ways of making the initiative a success.

A student at St James Zongoro High School in Mutasa, Prince Madzivachando has developed a Pfumvudza hoe which has made it possible for farmers to dig and plant at the same time, making it possible for one to work efficiently at a Pfumvudza plot without any helper.

“I made the Pfumvudza hoe that is used to make holes and plant at the same time. The hoe is efficient and can work alone without any challenges. The hoe stores seed in its handle pipe. After digging a hole, you then press a trigger to release the seeds. The trigger controls the number of seeds that are released. If you press hard more seeds will come out and if you press moderately then an average number of seeds will come out,” he said.

In Honde Valley, the adoption of the Pfumvudza programme is having a multiplier effect on other farming activities.

“As banana farmers, we have adopted Pfumvudza farming concept to increase our banana yields. We are doing bigger holes for the bananas with mulching helping to keep moisture,” said one of the farmers.

Another added, “The Pfumvudza programme is a game changer. If I grow my maize under Pfumvudza, I will take the residue and mix it with banana leaves to grow mushroom and then take the manure from mushroom as fertiliser for my yams.”

“I am happy to receive inputs for our Pfumvudza programmes. We have finished preparations and we are now waiting for the rainy season to start,” said another farmer.

The government continues to teach farmers the benefits of the concept in various parts of the country.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Professor Obert Jiri said, “Due to the sloppy terrain here Pfumvudza becomes very important in Honde Valley, it is important not to disturb the soil. Pfumvudza reduces the washing away of topsoil which is very important for our agriculture success. The holes minimise disturbance of the soil thereby reducing the impact of runoff in eroding the soil. This is one variation that is very critical here in Honde Valley and other parts of Manicaland. Farmers here have innovated to use banana residues for mulching. Pfumvudza is integrated with banana production.

“The field day celebrates the growing of four types of crops that include wheat, tomatoes, potatoes and a Pfumvudza plot. We have good soils in Mutasa South and water. We have a 65-kilometre water canal that we are going to rehabilitate. We want our farmers to embark on irrigation projects to improve food security,” said Manicaland Minister for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Advocate Misheck Mugadza.

The Pfumvudza/ Intwasa programme helps conserve moisture and is expected to prove even more beneficial in the 2023/24 summer cropping season following a normal to below-normal rainfall forecast.

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