Nonsikelelo Ndlovu, Sunday News reporter
THE Government has set in motion plans to launch the Presidential Poultry and Horticulture programmes in rural communities around the country before the end of the year.
In an interview, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, and Rural Resettlement Agriculture Minister Dr Anxious Masuka said under the poultry country scheme families will each get 10 roadrunner chickens.
“We are also starting a Presidential Rural Poultry initiative, intending to provide road runner chicks to every family by the end of the year. We are working on a solid Presidential programme, and we’re anticipating that we’ll start with around a million people going to these families in the intended person-to-person ratio,” said Dr Masuka.
He also announced the commencement of a Presidential Horticulture programme, to drill 35 000 boreholes in 35 000 localities by 2025.
“Another programme that we’re launching that we call the Presidential Rural Horticulture scheme, which is a very exciting component, we’re anticipating that we’ll be able to do 35 000 boreholes in the 35 000 villages by 2025. We are starting with 1 800 boreholes, one per award this year. We’re also starting with one village garden. So for the 1 800 selected villages we are putting a village garden, complete with solar,” said Dr Masuka.
Dr Masuka said the ministry was now ready for the 2021-22 agricultural season, and was aiming to increase production by 33 percent to fulfil the Government’s revised maize target.
“We have made initiatives as a ministry to assure food security, and the Government has enlisted the help of other stakeholders to mechanise the Pfumvudza/Intwasa farming idea, which was a huge success last season,” Dr Masuka said.
“We have completed our preparations for the 2021-2022 agricultural season, and we have attempted to be even more prepared this season than we were last season. We believe that food security can be improved by building on the momentum we have gained in the agricultural season of 2020-2021,” he said.
Cabinet recently increased the physical strategic grain reserve from 500 000 to 1.5 million tonnes.
“So, based on this, we believe we will need to increase maize volumes by another 33 percent in 2021-2022 to meet the country’s revised strategic grain requirements.
“We are looking into mechanisms to Pfumvudza/Intwasa itself so that we can speed things up. Pfumvudza/Intwasa plots will be increased from three to five per household. In addition, in the 2021-2022 agricultural system, we are increasing the number of households supported from 1,8 million to 2,3 million,” he said.