Zimbabwean farmers cultivate 138,000ha of maize under scheme

Farmers under the Pfumvudza programme have so far cultivated 138,000 hectares of maize with the early crop at tasseling stage, as the 2020/21 planting season advances.

This, however, did not meet the proposed 216,000 hectares target that was set for the scheme. Although more farmers are said to be cultivating, even as the rains delay.

Pfumvudza adopts conservation farming techniques, utilisation of small pieces of land as well as the application of good agronomic practices for higher returns.

The concept which has been applied to maize, traditional grains and soya beans farming aims at commercialising smallholder agriculture.

Speaking on the development, Deputy Director, Agricultural Technical and Extension Services (Agritex), Mrs. Kundai Makuku, revealed that as of December 25, about 138,200 hectares of land had been put under maize and most farmers were still planting.

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According to her, since planting inception as at early October, some farmers had challenges with the germination due to dry conditions during that period.

“Generally, the crop is good although some areas are showing signs of leaching due to incessant rains. Maize stages are from germination to tasseling. The crop planted in October is at an advanced stage.

“There have been some cases of fall armyworm but farmers have managed to control the pest. Farmers are now alert and always scouting their crop (for pests).

“They also have chemicals in stock while others are using traditional remedies to control the pest,” she said.

“Farmers continue to plant although some operations have been delayed by continuous rains. Planting is underway,” she said.

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Mrs. Makuku further stated that there is an urgent need for top dressing fertilisers because of the rains.

She revealed that some of the farmers had done land preparations but were delayed as there was a need to weed before planting.

Meanwhile, the government has adopted the Agriculture Recovery Plan to boost food production and reduce dependency on importation.

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The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement came up with several interventions such as the Pfumvudza, Intwasa, to foster productivity and enhance food security.

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