Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Matabeleland South Bureau Chief
FARMERS in Matabeleland South Province have started receiving inputs under the Climate-Proofed Presidential Inputs Scheme, popularly known as Intwasa/Pfumvudza, a development which will help them plant early.
About 400 farmers from Insiza District received their seed and fertiliser at a district launch on Friday.
The Intwasa/Pfumvudza programme is set to benefit 3,5 million farmers in communal, A1, small-scale commercial farming, old resettlement and peri-urban farmers in the production of cereals, oilseeds and legumes including a special pack for 500 000 urban farmers.
The programme is supporting five Pfumvudza/Intwasa plots, each measuring 39m x16m in size per household.
In low rainfall agro-ecological regions, three plots will be put under maize, sorghum and pearl millet. The maize plot is for household consumption and the other two plots under traditional grains are to produce for sale.
This year farmers are expected to plant two million hectares of maize. For sorghum, the Government has set a target of 380 000 hectares to produce 304 000 tonnes while 250 000 ha are set to be put under pearl millet to produce 150 000 tonnes.
Farmers are expected to plant 25 000ha of finger millet to produce 13 750 tonnes of the crop. Some farmers have started land preparations while others are procuring inputs.
Mrs Fungai Chingwida from ward 1 in Insiza said the inputs will help her a lot since they did not harvest much to keep seeds for the next season. She said she was looking forward to planting small grains as she has hope that they will perform well.
“I’m glad to have received input today and they have come really early. The Intwasa programme has really helped us because we don’t only receive inputs but we have been introduced to a more effective method of farming which can help us realise good harvests even when we receive low rains,” she said.
Mrs Chingwida said she was still in the process of preparing her plots so that when the first rains come she can plant her seed. She said she will prepare five plots.
The headman of Siyaphambili Village, Mr Alexius Moyo said the work which was being done by Government under the Intwasa/ Pfumvudza Programme was very commendable. He said farmers were now able to sell some of their produce thanks to the programme.
Mr Moyo said this is key in eliminating poverty which has haunted communities for a long time as a result to climate change.
Acting provincial director of agricultural rural development and advisory services for Matabeleland South, Mr Mkhunjulelwa Ndlovu said more districts will receive inputs as they were still coming in.
He said the provincial launch will be held early next month in Matobo.
“Insiza District farmers have received inputs and more districts will receive as the inputs are still coming into the GMB depots.
“Meanwhile training of farmers is still underway and farmers are busy preparing their plots as they are eager to receive their inputs and begin the planting process.
“This season we are targeting 130 000 farmers under Intwasa/Pfumvudza programme as a province,” he said.
Speaking during the launch Insiza South legislator Cde Spare Sithole urged farmers to fully utilise the inputs.
He said The Intwasa/Pfumvudza programme is a key initiative under the NDS1 which seeks to ensure food and nutrition security.
“Ever since the Intwasa/ Pfumvudza Programme was launched production in the district has improved thereby improving the livelihoods of many.
I would like to thank His Excellency Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa for rolling out such projects that seek to ensure food and nutrition security within rural households.
Our district hasn’t been left behind in all these programmes. Let’s fully utilise these programmes as this will help to improve our welfare,” he said.
Farmers from the province have shown eagerness to receive traditional grains for the 2022/23 farming season under the Climate-Proofed Presidential Inputs Scheme, as will help them realise good yields.
Matabeleland falls under agro-ecological regions three, four and five characterised by low rainfall.
Government announced that this year, the distribution of seed types and varieties for the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme will depend on climate and soils of each region in order to boost production.
Farmers in regions four and five will get an input package to plant one mandatory sorghum plot, one millet plot and one sunflower plot with farmers getting the option to choose between maize, African peas, ground nuts, sorghum and millet for the two remaining plots.
Generally, Matabeleland region receives low rainfall with increased chances of mid-season dry spells that have also been increasing in length.
More than three million farmers have registered for the conservation agriculture scheme, with at least 1,5 million having undergone training.
With the Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum predicting normal to above normal rainfall for the 2022-2023 season, the Meteorological Services Department last week issued a localised rainfall forecast that predicts the season will come into full swing from the first week of November.
Government has already released $20 billion towards the programme. This year’s target means an additional 1,2 million households will benefit from the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme, after 2,3 millon households participated last year.
Under the programme, each farming household will get an input package comprising 10kg maize seed, 5kg sorghum. 2kg pearl millet, 5kg soya beans, 2kg sunflower/castor beans and 5kg of either sugar beans, cowpeas or roundnut.
“Some farmers will get 5kg of summer wheat, long season variety, 2x50kg of Compound D fertiliser, 1x50kg top dressing fertiliser and chemicals for fall armyworm or stalk borer control. — @DubeMatutu