Mkhululi Ncube, Chronicle Reporter
GOVERNMENT has come up with a national competition for the Intwasa/Pfumvudza Climate Proof Programme to spur farmers into high productivity for a bumper harvest in the 2020-2021 farming season.
The Government introduced the Intwasa/ Pfumvudza concept, a conservation farming method aimed at improving production for 1,8 million small-scale farmers.
Intwasa/Pfumvudza was adopted to address the problems of low production and productivity, which continued to negatively affect the food security situation in Zimbabwe. It is also designed to inspire the commercialisation of smallholder farming in the country, giving all rural families an income.
The Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Dr Anxious Masuka announced the introduction of the competition last Friday in Gwanda during the launch of the $500 million National Livestock Blitz Tick Grease programme meant to fight livestock diseases that will see a million communal farmers getting free dipping chemicals and 4 000 dip tanks countrywide being rehabilitated.
“Everyone who is doing an Intwasa programme has already entered the competition. The winning household in the country will be represented by the farmer and the winning village will be represented by the village head.
“The winning chief with most subjects doing the Intwasa programme the right way will win. Each ward which will win and will be represented by a councillor. From ward level we go to districts, each district of the 62 in the country are competing. From district we go to the 10 provincial ministers who are also competing and there will be a winner,” said Dr Masuka.
He said the winners will be announced and honoured next year during a high-level ceremony that will be officiated by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
“The winners will be announced in August next year. There is a massive prize that will be on offer for the Intwasa programme winners. As you engage in the programme keep in mind that you are competing for a massive prize. Winners will be able to interact with the President and his vice presidents in Harare as they celebrate their success,” he said.
Dr Masuka said the main target was to ensure the country grows enough food.
“Once we do so it means that we would have assured our country of food security. We cannot continue to be beggars in our country of birth. We are endowed with rich soils, indeed with rich minds and Zimbabwe should be able to feed itself,” he said.
The minister urged farmers who got seed that does not do well in their areas not to plant it as the ministry had started replacing the seed.
“We have now started distributing inputs and we have also said each household must do three plots.
“However, when we had an interaction with provincial ministers we saw that in some areas they might have been given maize seed whereas they should actually be doing sorghum, rapoko and pearl millet. We have asked that there be reorganisation so that we don’t give maize seed where we should not be planting maize especially in the drier regions.
“If you have been given maize seed and you are in a dry area we don’t recommend that you plant the maize seed.
“We are bringing you the right seed of your traditional grain and we are also adding the ground nuts seed so that you can grow the right crops for your region because the country wants to achieve self-sufficiency and that comes from households doing the right thing,” he said.
He urged farmers to work closely with Agritex officers who will be monitoring farming.
Speaking at the same occasion, Matabeleland South Provincial Minister of State and Devolution Cde Abednico Ncube said livestock farming remains the province’s trump card.
“The livestock growth plan and it’s components will enrich everyone so that we all contribute meaningfully to the growth of our country as we journey towards 2030.
“The President’s vision of attaining an upper middle-income status by 2030 will be realisable because no one will be left behind,” said Cde Ncube.
He appealed for Government support to help resuscitate the once vibrant beef canning company in West Nicholson which slaughtered close to 600 beasts per day and exported meat to Europe and other parts of the world.
“There is a need to invest in stock feed production given our climatic conditions. Irrigated fodder will be the way to go. Water availability remains one of the challenges affecting our province.
Vice President (Mohadi) we need your assistance to expedite the construction of Thuli-Manyange Dam in Gwanda district which will go a long way in the resuscitation of the Guyu-Chelesa irrigation scheme and the resuscitation of Thuli breeding and experimentation station,” he said.
He said the construction of dams throughout the province and the introduction of breeding bulls to communal farmers will unlock many economic opportunities for the communities and end the perennial food shortages in the province. — @themkhust