A 50kg bag of fertiliser, Ammonium Nitrate (AN) is costing between US$45 and US$55, up from last season‘s price of US$30 last season.

Gokwe farmers hail Pfumvudza farming concept

HUMANITARIAN organisation Zimbabwe Red Cross Society (ZRCS) has complemented government efforts in the implementation of a Pfumvudza programme in Gokwe to cushion families against the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Pfumvudza agricultural concept is a government initiative aimed at climate-proofing farming through the adoption of conservation techniques, utilisation of small pieces of land and applying the correct agronomic practices for higher returns.

“The goal is to enhance community resilience to Covid-19-induced shocks, through strengthening of food security and water provision to the most vulnerable communities in Zimbabwe,” ZRCS secretary- general Elias Hwenga said.

The country is currently grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic and people in arid areas such as Gokwe — which lies in ecological region 4 and characterised by severe dry spells — need urgent attention.

Thousands of families in Gokwe North and South, have benefitted from the Pfumvudza programme.

“We have offered a full package to the beneficiaries in Gokwe. Our programme involves training of trainers to farmers on Climate Smart Agriculture — we have trained 90 volunteers and 17 Agritex staff on climate smart agriculture — and agriculture inputs provision. So far 4 000 households have received agriculture inputs packs in preparation for the 2021/22 cropping season,” Hwenga said.

The beneficiaries hailed ZRCS for spearheading programmes meant to help the remote areas in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic.

“The Pfumvudza plot is small enough to work on it — from land preparation to manage with mulch, weed, and applying fertilisers among others. For us, that is the concept that we were waiting for over the years. It helps in producing grains including maize, sorghum and millet in abundance and at the same time it encourages the rotation of legumes such as beans, ground nuts or cowpeas which is good for the soil and environment,” Blantinah Munyanyi told the Daily News.

Samusoni Masiwa, 54, concurred with Munyanyi saying farmers should take advantage of the Pfumvudza concept.

“In this part of the country we call this type of farming ‘Makomba’ as it involves digging up of small average holes by hoe. It is easy to do it and it lifted the burden on cattle. We no longer rely on cattle for farming and we are happy our animals are now looking good and we are looking to fetch more money on the market when we sell them,” he said.

Since the Pfumvudza programme uses a small area, it means more land for pastures.

“This type of farming is the way to go. We used to plough large tracts of land but the yield was not enough to pull us through the year but now it is vice-versa. Even the cattle and goats are enjoying the effects of Pfumvudza as pastures are plenty.”