Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Chronicle Reporter
THE Zimbabwe National Army has come to the rescue of Matabeleland South Province by providing transport to ferry agricultural inputs under the Intwasa/Pfumvudza Programme.
The province had been facing challenges in transporting inputs from Grain Marketing Board depots to different wards.
In her post-Cabinet briefing on Tuesday Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said subscription for the Intwasa/Pfumvudza programme has been overwhelming, with 2,4 million households already rolling out the programme, compared to the 1,5 million which were rolled out at the same time last year.
She said distribution of inputs is in full swing across the country.
She also said inputs distribution under the National Enhanced Agriculture Productivity Scheme (Neaps) or Command Agriculture is being accelerated.
Government has set the target of 2,8 million hectares of maize and traditional grains during the 2021/22 summer cropping season.
The Government is targeting 540 000 households to put 103 630 hectares under sorghum to produce 487 296 tonnes.
For soya beans, Government is targeting 560 000 households to plant 20 000 hectares and produce 30 000 tonnes while 500 000 households are expected to plant 32 000 hectares of groundnuts and produce 32 000 tonnes. About 260 000 households are expected to put 49 9920 hectares under pearl millet and produce 124 800 tonnes.
Matabeleland South acting provincial agricultural officer, Mr Mkhunjulelwa Ndlovu said each district in the province has been allocated a truck to transport inputs.
“We received inputs on time but the challenge we have been facing is in transporting inputs to different wards.
The Zimbabwe National Army has come in and assisted by providing trucks to move grain from GMB depots to different wards.
We have seen an improvement in terms of moving the inputs to the people,” he said.
“We want to avoid a situation where inputs are kept at depot until they rot while people need them.
We also want to avoid a situation where villagers are duped into forking out large sums of money in order to get inputs. These inputs are for free and they are supposed to bring relief to the people.”
He said about 90 000 farmers in the province have been trained under the Intwasa/Pfumvudza programme out of a target of 120 000 farmers.
Farmers from the province are optimistic of a bumper harvest under the Intwasa/Pfumvudza Programme.
The province received its first rains last week which marked the start of the planting process for most farmers.
Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister, Cde Abedinico Ncube recently launched the provincial Intwasa/Pfumvudza climate proofed Presidential Input Scheme at Ntshamathe Village in Umzingwane where 131 farmers received inputs.
They received a package comprising 50kg ammonium nitrate and compound D fertilizers, 10kgs maize seed, 2kgs sunflower, vegetables seeds, 2,5kgs fodder seed and 5kgs cowpeas.
Government adopted Intwasa/Pfumvudza to address the problem of low production and productivity which continued to negatively affect food security in Zimbabwe.
The concept promotes climate proofing agriculture by adopting conservation farming techniques and it involves the utilisation of small pieces of land and application of the correct agronomic practices for higher returns.
Statistics show that more than 8,6 million Zimbabweans are food insecure and the situation has been worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic whose impact disrupted many economic activities. — @DubeMatutu