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Bulawayo urban farmers to get agric inputs

by Staff reporter
20 Oct 2021 at 06:34hrs | Views
A TOTAL of 20 000 urban farmers in Bulawayo metropolitan province are set to receive agricultural inputs for the 2021/2022 farming season under the Climate-Proofed Presidential Inputs Scheme, popularly known as Intwasa/Pfumvudza.

In the previous season, Bulawayo farmers harvested 5 000 tonnes of maize.

Intwasa is a concept aimed at climate proofing agriculture by adopting conservation farming techniques and involves use of small plots and applying the correct agronomic practices for higher returns.

The Intwasa/Pfumvudza programme, designed for small-scale farmers will this season benefit 2,3 million households in the communal, A1, small-scale commercial farming and old resettlement sectors to produce cereals, oilseeds and legumes in the forthcoming summer cropping season.

Under the programme, each farming household will get an input package comprising 10kg maize seed, 5kg sorghum, 2kg pearl millet, 5kg soyabean, 2kg sunflower/castor bean (castor bean will be intercropped in the Intwasa crops) and 5kg sugar beans or 5kg cowpeas or roundnuts.

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.

The seed types and varieties will depend on the farming region.  Riding on the success of the Government funded scheme during the 2020/21 agriculture season, the programme has this year attracted interest from many farmers in Bulawayo, mostly youths who did not participate last season.

Chronicle news crew yesterday moved around the city's suburbs and observed farmers preparing their land ahead of the roll out of inputs.

Mr Matheus Gwizi (67) of Emganwini suburb said he was looking forward to another successful season after harvesting two tonnes of maize under Intwasa/Pfumvudza scheme.

"This is a brilliant programme, which is proving to be a source of livelihood for many. Through this programme, we are also boosting food security in our country and in the previous season, I managed to deliver one tonne of maize to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB)," he said.

"As you can see, I have already started preparing land so that I get inputs. We are grateful to Government for this gesture."

Through the scheme, Mr Gwizi said he managed to raise money to pay tuition fees for his son who is at university and as well as feeding his family back home in Buhera.

Mrs Khanyiso Nkala of Nketa suburb said: "Pfumvudza has proved to be a lifesaver for most small-scale farmers in the city. I have been doing this farming method for the past five years and last year I managed to harvest 39 bags of maize."

Ms Loveness Ndlovu of Pumula South who is participating Intwasa/Pfumvudza programme for the first time, lauded Government for introducing the scheme.

"Initially, I was sceptical about this scheme but through intensive training by Agritex officers as well as looking at my neighbour's yields from the previous season, I was tempted to participate this year. We are being trained my Agritex officers and everything is going well," she said.

Agricultural extension officer for Bulawayo Ms Treggie Mpofu said they are in the process of training both new and old including 20 000 youths in the province. She said most of the people being trained were youths who are participating in the programme for the first time.

"Youths have shown interest in Pfumvudza/Intwasa and we are already training 20 000 young men and women.

"Most of the farmers in both eastern and western suburbs including peri-urban areas such as St Peters have started preparing," said Ms Mpofu.

"We are targeting 20 000 households in all 29 wards of Bulawayo metropolitan province. We will only distribute inputs to those who would have finished the recommended land preparations."

Ms Mpofu urged farmers to intensify land preparation for them to attain high yields.

She said next week they will be moving around the province to assess the prepared land before they start distributing the inputs to farmers. Ms Mpofu said due to limited spaces for farming in the city, farmers will only receive maize seed packs and fertiliser.

Input packages will include lime, basal fertiliser, top dressing, folia fertilisers, pesticides and 2kg maize.

Ms Mpofu said the success of the Intwasa/Pfumvudza programme last season saw a number of farmers adopting the cropping technique and they undergoing training this season.

"We have had an overwhelming response from farmers and it appears after seeing the high yields from the Intwasa/Pfumvudza plots during the past season, most of these farmers have adopted the technique this season," she said.

Ms Mpofu said last year, farmers in Bulawayo harvested 5 000 tonnes of maize in all 29 wards and the figure includes the maize which was delivered to GMB and for household consumption.

Ms Mpofu said they have so far distributed 4 578 seed packs for horticulture and 178 sprayers to farmers in Bulawayo.

The beneficiaries include individuals, groups and churches.

Under Intwasa/Pfumvudza scheme, Government has set a 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 103 680 hectares under sorghum to produce 487 296 tonnes.

For soyabeans, 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 49 920 hectares under pearl millet and produce 124 800 tonnes.

The programme will support five Intwasa/Pfumvudza plots of 39m x 16m in each household with a standardised crop input package drawn from maize, sorghum, pearl millet, soya beans, sunflower, groundnuts, vegetables and cow peas.

In the low potential areas, the five plots will comprise three maize plots, one for family food and two to produce grain for sale, one plot on half the farms for soya beans and one plot under sugar beans or groundnuts or cow peas.
In low rainfall agro-ecological regions, three plots will be put under cereals maize, sorghum and pearl millet.

The maize plot is for household food and the other two plots under traditional grains for commercial sale.

Source - The Chronicle