“If I buy fertiliser, it means my grandchildren will not go to school. I had to use anthill soil and compost as manure but, as you know, that will not yield much,” said 50-year-old Kanenungo.

Government commissions crop insurance project

THE government and its partners have set aside over US$1million under the Area Yield Index Crop Insurance pilot project for 30 000 farmers who received Pfumvudza inputs this agriculture season.

In a statement yesterday, ministry of Agriculture permanent secretary, John Bhasera , said that climate financing would increase farmers’ resilience against negative impacts of erratic weather patterns.

“The piloting of the Area Yield Index Crop Insurance will this season be undertaken in Rushinga and Mwenezi Districts covering about 30,000 smallholder farmers under the Pfumvudza programme for a sum insured of over one million US$”.

“In-order to be able to verify usefulness, relevance and have proof of concept for the Area Yield Index Crop Insurance, we are  starting this agricultural season with a pilot exercise with financial support from a highly committed development partner called Mercy Corps.

“Pula Advisors GmbH (Pula) has been contracted by Mercy Corps’ AgriFin Digital Farmer to provide technical assistance for the design and implementation of a comprehensive Area yield index insurance on the inputs distributed under the Pfumvudza initiative in Zimbabwe,” Bhasera said.

The secretary said thes programme will later accommodate more farmers as the initiative will protect Pfumvudza beneficiaries’ crops.

“Mercy Corps’ AgriFin Digital Farmer is a two-year, $5 million initiative that aims to support the expansion of high-impact, digitally-enabled services to at least one million farmers and to expand the services to a further five million smallholder farmers in partnership with Gates and Bayer foundation. This expansion effort will be delivered by growing ecosystems of diverse service providers and building farmer income, productivity and resilience by 50 percent”

“The task team chaired by the Agricultural Finance Corporation  comprises the ministry and relevant stakeholders is being technically advised by Pula Advisors and they have so far green-ticked a number of key elements and are ready to roll the trial run during this agricultural production season covering farmers under the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme,” Bhasera explained further.

He said while the Presidential Input Scheme was climate proofed, farmers were still vulnerable to climate change hence the insurance to reduce crop loss.

“The ministry has upgraded its agricultural transformation strategic options basket by bringing in a crop insurance product pioneered in the region. The inclusion of the Area Yield Index Crop Insurance in the basket of inputs for Pfumvudza/Intwasa smallholder farming beneficiaries under the technical guidance of Pula Advisors is meant to protect the farmers from the heavy impact of climate change.

“The Pfumvudza programme is based on climate-proof production to certain extent, according to the results of the 2021 crop and livestock assessment report by the ministry. The average maize yield for farmers under Pfumvudza was higher than for non-Pfumvudza farmers .There is scope in understanding and acting against climate change and its potential impact.

“Smallholder farmers in Zimbabwe are increasingly exposed to systemic climate change risks such as droughts, dry spells, delayed seasons, floods, hailstorms, pests, diseases and many more,” Bhasera said.