Midlands farmers hail smart agricultural methods Masimba Villagers grade their tomato produce

Patrick Chitumba, [email protected] 

IN the heart of the Midlands Province where the rolling hills stretch as far as the eye can see and the fertile soil whispers promises of abundance, exists a tale of triumph in the realm of farming. 

It is a story of resilience, innovation, and community spirit that thrives despite the adverse effects of climate change characterised by high temperatures, erratic rainfall patterns and drought.

A community in Masimba Village in Neta, Mberengwa District, is riding on a wave of success following the harnessing of conservation and resilient agriculture. The farmers have weathered the storms of climate change with determination and ingenuity.

Conservation agriculture is a farming system that promotes the maintenance of a permanent soil cover, minimum soil disturbance, and diversification of plant species. 

Through hard work and perseverance, the group of farmers transformed their land into a thriving oasis of productivity. Despite the increasingly erratic weather patterns and dwindling water sources, their project stands as a beacon of hope and innovation.

The adoption of conservation agriculture in horticulture production by Masimba farmers is in line with the Second Republic’s rural industrialisation agenda. 

Through rural industrialisation, the Government hopes to stem rural-to-urban migration, which saps growth from the African countryside, transferring it to towns and cities.

Rural industrialisation, which hinges on the Second Republic’s devolution policy, involves nurturing agro-processing start-up enterprises in rural areas through financial and technological support via venture capital funding and Government agencies.

In 2021, President Mnangagwa launched the Arda Vision 2030 accelerator model programme at Bubi-Lupane Irrigation Scheme meant to stimulate rural industrialisation through agricultural development in line with Vision 2030, which is anchored on driving the country’s economy into upper middle-income status.

One of the farmers, Mr Piason Mushayi said they have about seven hectares, which they use for horticulture, piggery, poultry, and maize production.

 

He said boreholes have been sunk to promote the various agricultural projects.

“Yes, we are a group of 90 farmers involved in different projects such as poultry and piggery. We believe in working together as we embrace conservation farming. We also do groundwater harvesting in light of climate change,” he said.

“We are using renewable energy sources and adopting smart agriculture methods.”

Mr Mushayi said conservation agriculture is based on three practices promoted as a means for sustainable agricultural intensification, and this includes minimum tillage, mulching with crop residue and crop rotation.

He said such practices help increase yields through improvements in soil fertility and reduce risk to yields from rainfall shocks. “Masimba Village is a sustainable development-oriented farming community aiming to alleviate poverty and reduce crime by creating employment for the youth, and reduce the effects of drought caused by climate change,” said Mr Mushayi.

“Our yields have improved significantly and we are now able to send children to school, we have created employment for the youth within our community.”

Another farmer, Mr Daniel Muhwededzi said they have been able to harvest crops all year round through conservation farming.

“We are involved in piggery, poultry, horticulture and maize production in the area. We are a success story of farmers involved in conservation farming in Mberengwa,” he said.

“We are in regions four and five, where rainfall patterns are very low, so we embraced smart agriculture and irrigation production as a group, and it’s bearing fruits for us.”

Mr Muchemi Nyoni who is also a farmer, said: “We are working with development partners in uplifting our livelihoods through smart agriculture. The Government and its development partners continue to make efforts to support rural development and enhance productivity.”

 He said the project has transformed their lives and they are now able to feed their families and pay school fees for their children through farming.

“This smart farming concept has enabled us to make good harvests all year round. We also sell and send our children to school among other life-changing projects we are embarking on,” said Mr Nyoni.

“The adoption of conservation agriculture is being prioritised in the face of climate change, with the main goal being to improve yields and expand household incomes.”

Midlands Small to Medium Enterprises’ chairperson, Mr Bigboy Murenga said they are working with the farmers. He commended the Government for supporting the initiative, which proved to be a game-changer in the province in terms of boosting food security. 

 “It is our mandate to ensure that these farmers venture into the commercial farming business. We spoke to them and made sure that they registered their group as a company so that they could grow their products for business purposes,” he said.

 

 

 

 

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