Elizabeth Tsuro Midlands Reporter
Farmers have been urged to embrace new technologies to enhance food security in the wake of climate change-induced droughts.
Speaking at the Zephaniah Phiri Farm and Food Innovators Award ceremony at the late Phiri’s homestead in Zvishavane, Small to Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development Minister, Sithembiso Nyoni said farmers should make use of resources within their reach to make a difference.
She said there was a need for communal farmers to migrate from traditional farming methods and embrace new technologies as well as local indigenous knowledge systems to avert hunger.
“As you’ve seen, we’re experiencing climate change hence there’s a need to embrace new technologies.
“I urge you all farmers to be like these upcoming innovators to embrace local indigenous knowledge systems such as environmental conservation to promote sustainable livelihoods in our communities,” said Nyoni.
She applauded the positive legacy of the late Phiri whose water harvesting project has attracted a great deal of local and international attention.
“We should emulate the legacy that was left by Phiri and I’m glad that more food and farm innovators are coming up with the same projects that bring development in our areas and continue to carry on the good work,” she said.
The Phiri Award for Farm and Food Innovators was started in 2014 to celebrate the late Zephaniah Phiri’s water harvesting and soil conservation project, which he started in 1984 and has been helping people in his the community to cultivate crops all year round.
Environmental Management Agency (EMA) Midlands provincial manager, Milton Kufa, said they felt very honoured knowing there are farmers and food innovators who are helping to conserve water and soil.
“We’re happy because while we’re fighting with other farmers and teaching them to conserve these precious resources, other innovators are coming in with these good projects helping us to conserve our environment,” he said.
Godfrey Tafirenyika scooped the 2015 Overall Innovator Award and walked away with a cash price of $1,000, after his water and soil conservation project proved to be the best among other contestants in the country.