GOVERNMENT has collaborated with the Foundations for Farming and other stakeholders in capacitating extension workers on the Pfumvudza concept ahead of the 2020-2021 summer cropping season.
The extension officers will be capacitated to enable them to educate, track and monitor the Pfumvudza concept, which is aimed at climate-proofing agriculture by adopting conservation farming techniques.
It also involves the utilisation of small pieces of land and applying the correct agronomic practices for higher returns.
The technique was introduced by Government to boost agricultural productivity, guarantee food self-sufficiency and commercialise smallholder agriculture.
The concept will be applied to maize, traditional grains and soyabeans.
In an interview on the sidelines of the training of extension workers at the Department of Research and Specialist Services (DRSS) last week, Secretary for Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement, Dr John Basera, said Pfumvudza was one of the concepts under the Agriculture Recovery Plan being spearheaded by Government to improve food production.
Food production has been on a decline due to climate change and the Ministry has come up with an Agriculture Recovery Plan to boost productivity.
“We are working with different stakeholders that include Foundations for Farming, seed houses such as Seed Co and fertiliser companies to capacitate our extension workers so they will be able to train farmers in different provinces,” said Dr Basera. “We are training the trainer.”
Pfumvudza will see 1,8 million households participating in the programme and growing two plots measuring 39 by 16 metres each.
From the two plots, a farmer is expected to harvest a tonne of maize where half of the harvest will go towards household food security, while the remainder goes towards strengthening the Strategic Grain Reserve.
Dr Basera said the partners were training extension officers on Pfumvudza, which is set to be nationalised.
“Pfumvudza means a new season, a new beginning of improved productivity; producing more from less land and other resources and this entails improving productivity,” he said.
“We are targeting 1,8 million households and we support them with inputs. We want to boost the food production sector.
“This sub-sector contributes immensely to agriculture and the agriculture sector contributes to the national economy, GDP, employment creation, increase in exports and supply of raw materials to the manufacturing industry.
“To transform agriculture, we need to capacitate our extension workers intellectually and by providing the tools of the trade.”
Seed Co has been commended for funding the training of the trainers (extension workers) and for offering soil testing services which is also under the Agriculture Recovery Plan.
Foundations for Farming chief executive, Dr Matthew Mbanga, said they were training the extension officers on the important principles of conservation agriculture.
“These extension officers have knowledge on Pfumvudza, but we are just emphasising on the important principles of conservation agriculture such as timing, high management and high precision in doing things,” he said.