By Tapiwa Machemedze
PROMOTION of traditional grains by the government has paid off in Mashonaland Central with statistics from Agritex showing an average, 63 percent production increase this season. The development comes at a time 1 110 hectares of maize were written off in Mashonaland Central translating to a 4 percent slump in production while soya beans production also fell by 23 percent.
Provincial Crops and Livestock Officer, Stancilious Tapererwa told Mount Darwin farmers at a groundnuts field day that finger millet production rose by a massive 126% to 2 956 hectares while finger millet increased 56 percent to 3 111 hectares. Sorghum production settled at 52 thousand hectares marking a 61 percent production increase. Groundnuts production shot up 8 percent to 23 hectares from 21 thousand hectares the previous season.
“1 110 hectares of maize were written off. Farmers lost due to replanting. However we did not experience any write off on groundnuts, sorghum, pearl millet, finger millet and cotton. It shows that these are the crops that are adapted to our weather conditions which should be grown here in Mount Darwin and the whole province,” said Tapererwa
Host farmer Mark Shayarimo highlighted that groundnuts production has transformed his life since he took it up three years ago.
“We only think about groundnuts now in this area, not any other crop and we want to explore value addition.”
Team Leader for Enterprize, which is promoting groundnuts in 56 rural wards of Mount Darwin, Guruve and Bindura after receiving funding from DFID said they aim to entrench climate-resilient agriculture practices.
“Enterprize is part of the Livelihoods Food and Security program (LFSP) managed by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) funded by DFID. We are operating in three provinces, Mash Central, Midlands and Manicaland. Our programme has health components and Agriculture extension components. We want smallholder farmers to take farming as a business and we want to turn this area into a groundnuts production belt. We have 200 farmers here in Mount Darwin doing seed multiplication,” said Tadzoka.
Government and development partners are optimistic production of traditional grains will eradicate hunger and boost food security in the face of climate change.
By Tapiwa Machemedze