Stephen Mpofu, Perspective
Should Zimbabweans continue to die of thirst standing in water?
In other words, must our people persistently suffer want standing on soils that only require us to open their windows for deals to be clinched to end hunger?
The windows in point here are successive rows of evenly spaced holes dug in a field and into which you (yes, you) the farmer drop two grains of seed maize.
You wait for germination to occur, nurse the plants into fruition and you are home and dry with surfeited family bellies and fill the granaries, ogled by sluggards at home and abroad.
The Pfumvudza/Intwasa method of farming popularised by our Second Republic is not an entirely new way of growing food as individual farmers particularly in rural areas have used it on some small holdings, namely vegetable gardens and realised bumper harvests.
The zero-tillage agricultural methodology comes handy particularly in regions where recurrent droughts spawned by global warming have wiped out crops and pastures and left cattle used as drought power dangerously crony to put under yoke, what with the hardy animal, the donkey, now a scarce resource.
Zimbabwe may not in a long time again become a bread basket on the African continent, as it once was soon after independence, courtesy of the peasants’ hard work.
But that is no great deal in light of a Western imperialist economic embargo which has left our economy augmented by global warming and aggravated by Satan’s Covid-19 global pandemic which has decimated economies around the globe.
When our people have enough food on the dinner table and a surplus to fall back on in times of need, the Government will use the scarce foreign currency available not on food imports but to grow the economy further.
It is important to note however that for zero-tillage agriculture to succeed, its supervision is of prime importance, and this means that crops, such as small grains which are germane in particular ecological zones should be grown there instead of peasant farmers going the whole hog on maize.
In this regard, while colonial Rhodesian regimes may have been racially oppressive against blacks, they did ensure effective supervision of food production by posting agricultural demonstrations to rural areas where they lived in accommodation similar to those provided in urban areas so that the specialists put lavish urban lifestyles behind their backs and instead put their shoulders to the wheel, as it were, by making sure in loco that Africans grew more food for themselves without looking to the settler regimes for food supplements.
That way the foreign rulers were certain that they would skim and savour the cream of our abducted motherland without the natives bearing angry red eyes at them.
The same type of supervision of farmers should be stepped up under devolution.
Unfortunately, however, modern technology appears to some of our leaders to also enjoy supervisory control of farmers to the extent that messages on Pfumvudza/Intwasa encoded in music played on radio are expected to serve as a magic wand.
That countless numbers of school going children in rural areas missed out on radio lessons broadcast during the current coronavirus lockdown because some people encoded in cushy offices in urban areas believed erroneously that the music on Pfumvudza/Intwasa would cascade down to even the remotest parts of the country, when they ought to have made sure in the first place that the parents of these children out there in the sticks owned radio sets.
What a tragic irony this is for our educators.
Be that as it may, zero-tillage agriculture has come in handy to our nation to the extent that workers in towns also growing food under Pfumvudza/Intwasa in peri-urban areas may invest incomes otherwise set aside to buy food into projects that help to grow the economy.
But while the Government may genuinely be averse to promoting a dependency syndrome among it’s people the powers that be might however wish to organise mechanised traction on hire for a modest fee and/or a restocking or livestock feeding programme for organized communal farmers whose draught power suffered the effects of global warming onslaught so that everyone in the country contributes to growing our economy.
That way our leaders will no doubt bask in the yap yap hoorays of the people and enjoy another mandate yet.
Or who does not wish to be raised shoulder high in the hearts of their counterparts?