Elita Chikwati Senior Reporter
The private sector has pledged to support the Pfumvudza farming concept aimed at climate proofing agriculture by adopting conservation farming techniques through the utilisation of small pieces of land and application of correct agronomic practices for higher returns.
The concept, which will be applied to maize, traditional grains and soya beans will also commercialise smallholder agriculture from 2020/21 summer cropping season.
Syngenta marketing manager Mr Tawanda Mangisi yesterday said the recent initiative by the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement of promoting Pfumvudza was a climate smart initiative that would go a long way in climate proofing agriculture and ensuring sustainability for millions of vulnerable communal households in our country.
“Pfumvudza is the right foot forward in ensuring food self-sufficiency and building the national strategic grain reserves as the excess from this initiative will be sold commercially by the farmers.
“As Syngenta we have availed seed to the Presidential Input Scheme through our seed distributor Intaba. We have offered our new drought tolerant hybrid SY5944 and we believe it will enable the yields to be even higher with the Pfumvudza concept,” he said.
Syngenta also donated Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) for use by extension officers spearheading Pfumvudza in farming areas.
“We are in the process of deliberations with Government for a portion of the PIP seed to be treated with our new seed dressing technology Fortenza Duo, which is an in the bag early season mitigator or control against the devastating fall armyworm pest.
“This seed treatment will mean a farmer gets seed already treated thereby they save on potential sprays in the first 30 days of emergence,” he said.
Mr Mangisi said Syngenta had recently introduced a digital field management application which if used with technical expertise in Agritex will make agriculture smarter.
“We are coming in as a partner in this time of crisis and buoyed by the belief that all our initiatives rest on the shoulders of the extension workers, who are in actual fact front line workers. We have therefore donated these 4 000 masks to the ministry, to Agritex department for the extension workers scattered across the country. These are our heroes because they are the bedrock of the success of the Pfumvudza project,” he said.
Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement secretary Dr John Basera confirmed that preparations for this year’s summer season were on course.
He said the Presidential Inputs Scheme will this year prioritise farmers who would have adopted the Pfumvudza concept.
“So far 715 000 farmers have been trained on Pfumvudza. We have had an overwhelming response to the concept. There is tremendous progress on such critical activities such as holing out (preparing planting basins), mulch harvesting, liming and manure accumulation,” he said.